This month the third series, directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, hit our screens: Guns and Gulaabs on Netflix. (The title is a reference to the band Guns N’ Roses, which was popular with the directors in their youth.) PREMIUM Gulshan Devaiah as Chaar-Cut Atmaram in Guns and Gulaabs. He’s an eccentric killer who kills any victim with exactly four slashes.

Raj & DK previously directed two seasons of The Family Man and one season of Farzi, both for Amazon Prime.

Guns and Gulaabs polarized audiences. Some love the show’s delicious wickedness; others feel it is too far away. I’m somewhere in the middle, but I would argue that streaming in India has been redefined by the Raj & DK brand. Through her sense of dry, absurd humor and her ability to create different worlds.

Guns and Gulaabs, for example, is set in the fictional town of Gulaabganj, which appears to be populated entirely by low-key eccentrics with names like Chaar-Cut Atmaram (Gulshan Devaiah) and Paanadhari Tipu (Rajkummar Rao) are killers. Chaar-Cut is a contract killer that kills its victims in exactly four strokes. Paanadhari got the nickname because he killed two people with a panna or wrench.

Raj and DK have an uncanny ability to create memorable characters like this one. Here are some of my favorites from her oeuvre.

Srikant Tiwari: “The James Bond of Chembur” describes the main character of “The Family Man” (2019-). Tiwari is a man who juggles everyday domestic problems while trying to save the country from insidious terrorists. He’s a consummate liar and a neglectful husband, but also a great spy. In one hilarious scene, he’s in a car with his young son, who has chosen another musical instrument and insists on playing it with passion (and very little talent), and Tiwari must now find the strength to do so gratefully .

It helps, of course, that the character is played by the brilliant Manoj Bajpayee, who hits just the right notes of courage, desperation, and exhaustion.

Michael Vedanayagam: The chief officer of the task force in Farzi (born 2023) is on the trail of a counterfeit money ring. He’s an expert at what he does. But his private life is a mess. He’s in the middle of a divorce and is a little too addicted to alcohol. Vijay Sethupathi’s minimalist, stylized performance brought charisma to Michael. A highlight were his hilarious conversations with Minister Pawan Gahlot (superbly played by Zakir Hussain). In one scene, Vedanayagam tries to explain to the minister why he shouldn’t hold a certain press conference. The confiscated banknotes are not the right ones, he says. “Yeh asli nakli nahi hain, nakli nakli hai!” replies the angry minister. It’s irresistible.

Kamarcut: As an auxiliary mechanic, Kamarcut plays a minor role in the violent landscape of Gulaabganj. Scrawny, sweet, buck teeth, he is played by Nand Lal with just the right touch of endearing charm and unhappiness. If there’s a second season, I hope we see more of him in it.

Chelam Sir: Uday Mahesh only appeared on screen for 15 minutes in the second season of The Family Man, and yet he was the mysterious Chellam Sir, who says right at the beginning: “I am a retired old man. What help can I offer?” became a household name. The omniscient senior who helps save the world is my kind of superhero.

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