If your taste runs to the graphic and the gory, AXN’s new show, Hannibal, is worth a watch. Yes, this is the same sinister cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, who we know from author Thomas Harris’s bestselling novels.
As also from the film, The Silence of the Lambs, in which Anthony Hopkins gave a chilling, powerful performance as the killer with a taste for art – and for the human body.
The show is a sort of prequel and focuses on the years before Hannibal became a wanted criminal, when he was a respectable and respected psychiatrist.
But the TV show, which premiered in India last week – at almost the same time as it opened on American TV screens – is not only about Hannibal.
It is also about an FBI criminal profiler, Will Graham, and the relationship between the two men.
Graham is an ace investigator because of his eerie ability to place himself in the killer’s shoes and actually re-live the crime.
This makes him emotionally fragile and prone to surreal nightmares (actor Hugh Dancy is very effective with his lost, haunted eyes).
Hannibal Lecter, on the other hand, seems smooth and sophisticated, eating elegantly placed food with glasses of red wine by his side.
(Do we really want to know what he’s eating? I thought not). But there’s a disturbing edge to Dr Lecter, and Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (who was the villain in the James Bond film, Casino Royale) mines that uncomfortable quality with relish, looking as if he could converse politely about civilized things like books one second and think/do completely uncivilized things the next.
It’s a strong show but the horror-gruesome quotient is quite high. So, not for the squeamish. (Also, just one question, which I have raised in the past too: why are American TV shows and movies so obsessed with murderers and serial killers? You’d think they liked them.)
Meanwhile, there was some refreshing humour on the Film Fail Awards (telecast by Zee Café), where a bunch of stand-up comics who call themselves Schitz En Giggles spoofed film awards functions and gave away awards to the worst actor, actress, film etc.
Spoofing Bollywood and mimicking stars is a full-time occupation for many comedians and here too, there was a lot of that.
But some of it was really funny – particularly the imitations of Salman Khan (wearing a T-shirt that said Being Mamman), Shah Rukh Khan, and most memorably, Nana Patekar. Good fun.