One of the biggest misreadings of the room in modern film and television history was the decision for countless streaming services, networks, and studios to start making projects set in or around either a viral pandemic or the actual COVID crisis as soon as possible, which absolutely wasn’t what people wanted to see at the time. Kaala Paani isn’t quite that, but it can’t be a coincidence that certain aspects of its construction and execution channel those unprecedented times.

Heralded as Netflix’s first-ever survival drama hailing from India, it was obvious that the episodic nail-biter would be guaranteed a plum spot on the most-watched charts as soon as it premiered given the trailer notched upwards of 22 million views on YouTube in the space of a couple of weeks. Sure enough, it’s landed as the 10th top-viewed episodic title worldwide per FlixPatrol, and it could yet rise higher as we head into the weekend.

kaala paani
Image via Netflix

The story follows a disparate band of characters who all have the same goal in mind; making it out of their current situation alive. When a mysterious illness descends upon and then rapidly spreads through the Andaman and Nicobar islands, science and nature find themselves pitted against each other once again as a desperate battle for survival collides head-on with the race to find a cure.

The subgenre is always one that appeals to viewers if it’s handled correctly, and based on its strong performance right out of the blocks, it would be safe to say that Kaala Paani ticks all the right boxes.

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