A Look At The Dense Themes Explored In ZEE5′s Telugu Original N.E.R.D
In the Telugu film space, there haven’t been that many psychological thrillers, with the number, slightly increasing only now. Hence, things do look a lot exciting when we focus on the web space. The content, thankfully, does not succumb to censorship, making way for more darker and edgier stories to be told. One such story we came across was in ZEE5’s Telugu original web series N.E.R.D. In the N.E.R.D web series, the makers are smartly able to subvert audience expectations to create a thrilling tale of deception, lust and murder.
Since it has been a few days since the web series released online, it seemed like a good time to explore the themes of the show. Rich in details, N.E.R.D web series had a lot to explore in terms of ideas. But before we move on towards exploring the show’s themes, just a reminder that the content ahead will feature heavy spoilers.
Theme #1: Loneliness
In the series, the central character Hasvanth, is portrayed as a quintessential nerd. He has got a good job and house. But the one major thing missing from his life is people. Being an orphan, he’s got no family and also does not have friends. Over a period of time, his loneliness starts to get to him. This plotline set up in the initial episode mirror the reality of many people who just slip out of people’s gaze in our everyday life. Dark and heartbreaking, we connect to Hasvanth’s predicament as it is one that is heard too often.
Theme #2: Monotony In Life
With many people working in a 9 to 5 job, this is one problem that also seems prevalent. Every day runs in a fixed pattern.
Get up in the morning
get ready and leave for work
complete work hours
Head to bed
Coupled with the loneliness mentioned above, the quality of life gradually deteriorates. As humans, we have constantly need a change of pace and routine in our lifestyle. Hence, the concept of holidays, hobbies and vacations come into play. The lack of this ‘me’ time tends to have a detrimental impact on just our mindset but also our health. In the show, we see Hasvanth go through a similar predicament that we tend to empathise with.
Theme #3: Relationships
Humans are a social species. Leading a solitary lifestyle isn’t cut out for most of us. Hence, we seek the company of people, in the form of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family and romantic partners. In the show, Hasvanth has none. He craves for human relationships, especially romantic ones. But when he does establish relationships with various women, that’s when the ugly side of reality hits us. Seeking a relationship is not a hunky-dory scenario where our feelings would always be reciprocated. Also, relationships require a certain maturity that is a must to keep it alive and growing. Exploring varied aspects of it in the show, this is one theme that N.E.R.D web series strongly focusses on.
Theme #4: Psychological Trauma
It is a common sight to see people being humiliated and ridiculed for their shortcomings. In N.E.R.D web series, Hasvanth undergoes a similar humiliation right from a young impressionable age. It is said that such behaviour often leads to people developing personality and psychological issues. This proves to be true when Hasvanth seems to exhibit signs of multiple personality disorder and hallucinations. While the initial reveal does seem convincing, the final twist in the show reveals something far more sinister. It is a chilling depiction of how a mind warped by psychological scars restart the cycle of suffering.
Theme #5: Toxic Masculinity
In recent times, there has been an evolving discussion on the idea of toxic masculinity and its depiction in the film and web space. While many a time, the toxic masculinity is disguised as love, the concept raises its ugly head in the most twisted way in N.E.R.D web series. Throughout the series, the characters, especially Hasvanth, come across mislead individuals and a pawn in a vicious game of lust and blood. But when the final twist is unveiled (a strong reason to binge the show, since details across the series get a throwback), you are left dumbstruck. Not just by the twist, but also by the wicked side of a seemingly innocent character. The portrayal of toxic masculinity, especially in the climax of the series, seemed to thematically mirror a Tamil film – Aaranya Kaandam.
There’s a lot more that could be said about N.E.R.D web series. But it is recommended that you see it on ZEE5 than read about it. The series is an interesting experiment in the Telugu web space that deserves attention for the choices it makes as a story.