Binge Watch This Weekend Leila: The Dystopian But Powerful And Brave Drama Holds A Mirror To Indian Society

Leila: The Dystopian

June 21st, 2019   |   Updated on February 14th, 2022

Leila is a story of a Shalini’s ( Huma Qureshi) search for her small daughter Leila (Layesha Mange). Rizwan Chowdhury (Rahul Khanna) is Leila’s father.

The family is enjoying their time in a swimming pool as they await a visit from a family member. All seems well in their world until the next moment when they are attacked. The husband is killed and the wife is captured; what happens to the daughter will be known later in the series.

Here evil development plan coexists with regressive religious beliefs that blend perfectly well with the aggressive nationalism. Aryavarta’s ideal citizen is the person who can give away his and his family’s life for the nation.

It is based on the dystopian fictional novel written by journalist Prayaag Akbar. The drama series is directed by three directors: Deepa Mehta, Shanker Raman, Pawan Kumar.

The 6-episode Netflix series will force you to binge-watch this creation of a hi-tech dystopian world, Aryavarta, where the biggest law is purity. The story, symbolically, begins in 2047, 100 years after India’s independence.

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Reviews: “Leila: The Dystopian”

Leila Review: Firstpost

Leila: The Dystopian

In the intricately fictionalised world of Leila, the lines between make-believe and horrifying reality are often blurred. It is what makes the viewing experience so visceral.

At its core, Leila is a story of a mother’s search for her missing daughter. The series begins in 2047 (in the “near future” — interesting choice of words, sigh). Shalini (Qureshi) has married her college sweetheart Riz (Rahul Khanna) and they have a daughter together, Leila. The family lives secretly, and in danger, as inter-religious

marriages are frowned upon by the Council. In the drama, nothing is pure, and yet everyone is striving for purity.

The visuals are stark in the series, under the direction of the ever-talented Shanker Raman. The production design is detailed and meticulous, and tell a story of their own (we see some graffiti in the background of the Slums, as Shalini searches for her daughter; one that really stuck with me, read, “whose progress, whose country”.)

For Full Review, Click Here.

Leila Review: India Today

Leila: The Dystopian

Leila has all the ingredients of a perfect dystopian drama that strike a chord with the viewers. The fear makes you uncomfortable, the suspense on edge of your seat, the tragedy makes your miserable while the horror of it all surrounds you with all its intensity, as the possibility of an impending doom lurks.

Leila is set in an imagined world, Aryavarta, where purity is a law and the motto is peace by segregation. Cities are divided into sectors with sky-high walls. Each sector has one community, free to practice their faith. Slums are outside the walls where there is no clean water and hygienic conditions. In future, clean water and air are considered luxury.

For Full Review, Click Here.

Review: Film Companion


It’s no surprise that the rise of authoritarian regimes across the globe has fuelled, and renewed, an interest in dystopian art. The disaster movie, a product of environmental dystopia, has become smarter. The zombie-apocalypse movie, a product of human dystopia, has become scarier and funnier. But it has been a double-edged sword for sociopolitical dystopia.

The sociopolitical dystopian drama is, by definition, a far more innovative ornamentation of truth than its cultural sibling, the propaganda movie. Whereas the latter believes it is merely an accessible language of fact, the former thrives on a heightened degree of fiction.

But you sense that the country’s current scenario is such that even this specific future – the year 2047, India now a Hindu extremist nation called Aryavarta, water shortage riots, communities gated off from each other, ‘welfare’ centers for impure women, and a sunless, diseased air – is too mild in imagination to frame a radical leftist view of our times.

For Full Review, Click Here.