Meet The Dixits
As we approach the halfway point of this dystopian Indian series, Leila slows in pace for its third episode as we see Shalini grappling with her newfound position and doing her best to try and find her daughter.
We begin with Shalini on her way to a traitor’s house where a woman tells Shalini that Bhanu has been demoted because of her. At the house, she finds a box with Project Balee written on it which contains articles about missing mixed race children.
Back in Tower 51 where Shalini lives in the labour camp, she relays her findings to her friend Madhu. She explains that she wants to find the writer of the article and having listened to her pleas, two of the women, Tahiruddin and Madhu, agree to help her.
The next day, she begins her new job; she’s assigned as a maid to a privileged family called the Dixits. While we find out that Mr Dixit is one of the engineers for the upcoming Skydome, we also see that the presence of Joshi is everywhere in the household and they’re brainwashing their child into following the new leader’s doctrines.
Later that night, Madhu wakes Shalini up and tells her she has found the reporter. He works in the gas plant and she tells her that if she fits a camera in Dixit’s room, she will be taken to the reporter. Madhu explains that Dixit is involved in a dangerous conspiracy and they need to find out more.
The next day, as Shalini goes to work with the camera hidden in her lunch, she watches Mr Dixit’s presentation about the Skydome which will make sure there is clean water for everyone and no pollution. Pinching the child until he begins crying, Shalini garners up a good distraction in order to sneak the camera into Dixit’s office.
After intercepting a package at the local mall, Shalini uses the computer in the house and finds out that the reporter is dead. A menacing Mr Shrivastava arrives and tells Mrs Dixit that there’s still a lot of preparation left before the inauguration of the Skydome but reveals there’s also a lot of enemies to deal with.
As her husband is suddenly taken away, Mrs Dixit starts to panic; she worries that she may lose her son. We find out that the child is not hers and that she bought him because she was unable to conceive. In a cruel sense of irony, he’s a mixed race child and Shalini finds out that mixed children are being sold. Feeling sorry for her, Shalini decides to help and takes her to Bhanu who extracts the chip from Mrs Dixit’s wrist and helps her get away.
The episode then ends on a cliff-hanger as Bhanu points a gun at Shalini’s head and tells her he needs to kill her as she knows too much.
Leila continues on with its decent dystopian premise, injecting enough interesting details here to help with the world building. All the radio transmissions we often hear in the background do a great job depicting the harsh conditions the people live in too and certainly stand out.
There’s also some interesting flashbacks used her too, depicting how Shalini used to act around her maid and the contrast seeing that she is being treated almost the same way herself. It’s a subtle inclusion but one that certainly helps flesh Shalini out as a more empathetic character.
With 3 episodes left, Leila enters its second half of the show and a story that promises to end in pretty dramatic fashion. For now though, Leila offers enough to keep you hanging on to find out quite where the story is likely to go from here.