Vidly.tv, an OTT platform, released its first original and cult web series – Sevak: The Confession, and caught the brunt of India’s extreme and immediate anxiety on the exposure of their prevarication of events. The series and platform were banned in India, only to increase the interest of audiences. Thousands glued to their screens to experience the terror, subterfuge, and extremism of the atrocious acts conducted with purpose during true events; stories told without a confirmation bias. As the series unfolded, the audience witnessed the grave human rights violations that took place in India between 1984 and 2022 and felt the pain of those manipulated and misled by those seeking to spark instability, and division, and establish Hindutva supremacy at the cost of “others”.
The heinous nature of incidents keeps taking twist after twist and the intentions of the dark forces behind the events unfold piece by piece, to leave the audience in complete shock in the final episode.
The series is a haunting immersive visual retelling of the tragic events, which reveals the fascist, terrorist, and extremist tendencies active in Indian society, attacking human security and tearing apart the social fabric.
It is based on the atrocities faced by religious minorities (especially Sikhs, Muslims, and Dalits) in India from 1984 to 2022, highlighting the anti-Sikh movement, Hindutva ideology, and the activities of RSS. Events inspired by stories of Gauri Lankesh, Hemant Karkare, Graham Staines, Junaid Khan, and Surekha Bohtmange and facts about the Babri mosque demolition, 2002 Gujarat pogrom, marginalization of minorities and the ideology of RSS are the backdrop of the journey of the protagonists as they seek the truth, only for the audience to be baffled by the truth revealed in the last episode.
There is heartache, grief, and a search for redemption, but on top of that there is a realisation that what had been told was not the truth. There is a conscious and strategic violation of human rights to create instability – where manipulated religious ideology is being misused for personal and political power.
Sevak boldly reveals the rampant mob violence against minorities, the wave of populism in India, the supremacist ideas of Hindutva, and recounts harrowing stories of harassment and gender violence to wake up the consciousness of the audience to the reality of abuse of human rights in India. The stories are very real for those who lived through the events and are still living with the repercussion of the ideology of the RSS. Those even vaguely familiar with these will be forced to question the rhetoric that has been propagated over the years.
Sevak has been brilliantly crafted as it entertains the audience with action, suspense, romance, and life’s moments, within the backdrop of real-life historic events presented factually, without filters and propaganda.
The writer and producers have taken the care and responsibility of doing deep research to ensure authenticity and have used the opportunity to share the true version of history which is starkly different from the popular narrative being fed.
It is this difference that made the current government in India nervous and propelled them to ban the content and portal.
Written for the screen by Saji Gul and directed by Anjum Shehzad, Sevak follows a blueprint where you first see the aftermath and the reason by the end. It is serious, haunting, and borderline dark in nature with no breather at any point. And every bit of it is justified. The lighter moments of romance and melodic songs are a pleasant respite and mirror the cycle of life.
The series revolves around an ambitious journalist, Vidya, who tries to expose the truth behind a murder which involves her family, with the help of Mannu, a victim of oppression by extremist organizations. The story also highlights the struggles of Sikh actor, Jeet Singh, with a troubled childhood as he grows up watching his mother suffer and anti-Sikh riots happening all around him.
The actors have done justice to the series - each lending to the thrill, building suspense and jolting with action. There is strength in the characters, each voicing a purpose, and playing their part to tell a gripping story.
Sevak: The Confessions has opened a new phase in Pakistani content where very important conversations are held and the truth is told boldly. It is also providing a variety in Pakistani drama, moving beyond the family dramas and rom coms to popularize action suspense thrillers.