Venkat Prabhu and Kajal Aggarwal’s digital debut ‘Live Telecast’ is a lesson on the Horrors of Horror Template 101
Whichever way you look at it, horror is a genre that is dead in Tamil cinema, barring the obvious exceptions like Mysskin’s Pisaasu, Milind Rao’s Aval and Ashwin Saravanan’s Game Over that tried to break away from the genre conventions. Had it been another filmmaker, you wouldn’t care. Live Telecast is by Venkat Prabhu. That is what hurts the most. It is not that Venkat Prabhu hasn’t made bad films. Even in those films, you could see the filmmaker’s stamp throughout — Massu Engira Masilamani comes to mind. It wasn’t a great film. But the moments were well-thought-out and ideas were wild.
- Cast: Kajal Aggarwal, Vaibhav Reddy, Anandhi, Ashwin Kumar and Ashwin Kakumanu
- Director: Venkat Prabhu
- Storyline: A television crew, comprising once-college friends, is headed by Jennifer Mathew, who comes up with a “unique” programme to capture paranormal experience live on air, until they find themselves trapped in a haunted house for real.
Venkat Prabhu seems directionless in Live Telecast. Not a single scene registers in the seven-episode series. Notice how the episodes are named: The Intro, The Failure, The Plan, The Trap and so on. It appears that Venkat Prabhu took individual episodes and wrote for them, rather than developing a cohesive story. Because, that explains why the scenes keep coming without an order. Even the supposed ‘scary’ part only arrives in the fifth episode, when Jenny (Kajal Aggarwal) and her crew are shooting in a haunted house, live telecasting the process for viewers.
Both the writing and filmmaking are abysmal, even by the standards of Tamil web series. The actors are animated. The plot, if there was any, is outdated. It has a serial-ish quality, thanks to the camera work. The ‘horror’ is tasteless. The jokes are scarier than the scenes that are supposedly meant to send chills. The series is hell-bent on effects rather than emotion. You wonder if someone else had ghost-directed Live Telecast by retaining Venkat Prabhu’s spirit.
Live Telecast is currently streaming on Disney+Hotstar.