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Review: Murder, Mystery, and Mumbai: Mahim Murder Series

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The series ‘Mahim Murder’ was released on Jio cinema on May,10.

Produced by Tipping Films and Viacom 18 studios, the cast includes, Ashutosh Rana as Peter Fernandez, Vijay Raaz as Inspector Shivrajrao Jende, Shivaji Satam as Shivrajrao’s father and Shivangi Raghuvanshi as Police Official Firdaus Rabbani.

The eight part series is a long format of a book by Jerry Pinto bearing the same name. A whodunit it was published in 2017, a year before the Supreme Court finally read down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality.

The series, wastes no time in establishing the murder of a man at Mahim station. The murder is brutal with the victim’s stomach ripped open and kidney pulled out.

From the word go we know all there is to know about the plot- the killings one followed by another, and then a few more, that are aimed at homosexuals of Mumbai, who either loves them to deep or hates them with equal intensity.

With each murder, the murderer not only picks his next victim but also announces him to the world. As the narrative progresses and policemen start getting targeted, it becomes clear, that this is not a hate crime, rather revenge killings of some likely event of the past! But what is that trigger and who is the killer, the team of Inspector Shiva are at their tethers end!

Ashutosh Rana, as Peter Fernandez, a voluntarily retired Journalist, plays an important part in the series. Friend turned foe of Inspector Shiva, Peter, follows the killings for his own reasons’ namely his son Sunil who goes missing and is seen as a link to the Mahim Murders.

The story unfolds through the eyes of these two and it is not long after, that circumstances that made them go their separate ways, unites them too, to finally crack the case.

The series has many pluses and a few negatives as well. The film is Mumbaiya and we feel the pulse of the city. The underbelly, the middle class, a city teeming with people, hurrying on with their lives, or just stationary as life passes them-by. The city is shown beautifully as a living breathing animate object that has a destiny and destination of its own.
The sound effects are quite spectacular and makes the narrative all the more compelling.
The pace is perhaps the best part, it holds our attention and camouflages an otherwise weak story-line.

The art of the artist lies in the revelation of the plot. While, the storyline is laid threadbare in the first episode itself, it’s the whodunit the keeps us guessing right till the time the story teller wants us to know the slayer.

The actors have done a great job. They are likeable as well as relatable.

There are a number of subplots as well and the story deals with a larger subject of homosexuality in India and our response to it as middle class people, parents, men in uniform and also those who are homosexuals and their struggles to not only come to terms with it but also to come out of the closet.

There are some negatives too, though far fewer than the positives. The characterisation and casting of the killer is not etched well and sticks out as a sore thumb.

Peter and his wife who suffer from homophobia most of their lives, become too liberal, too soon, and that looks a little unbelievable.

Firdaus Rabbani, hailing from a tradition Muslim family is also a closeted homosexual and that chronicle too is a little chipped and looks forced. So what’s the verdict? The series is definitely bingeable, and is one of the better thrillers that are available across streams, is it a cliffhanger-no! but it definitely keeps you guessing. So spend your weekend with Inspector Shiva and Peter Fernandez, don’t think you will regret it.

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