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Murder In Mahim

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
4 Star popcorn reviewss


If you were to tell me that Ashutosh Rana and Vijay Raaz are leading a webshow, then I would be their audience everyday of the week. The LGBTQIA community has often been at the receiving things in terms of inclusivity. It is sad that we still live in a society wherein the members of the community are looked down upon, whereas in reality there is a need for inclusivity and love. Falling in love is so difficult here but maybe committing a hate crime may not be, and that is essentially the crux of the society today. It was in 2018 that Article 377 was abolished by the Honorable Court in the view that members of the same gender can atleast stay together in a live-in relationship. But the same sex marriage is still a crime in a country whose laws were not updated since Britishers left the shore.

If I were to take this argument a step forward, there would be many individuals that would be ‘liberal’, often supporting the cause from the onset but when things begin to unfold at their own place(with anyone from the family coming out in the open about his sexuality), there is immediate repulsion! So while things have been better shaped for the LGBTQIA community, there is still a long way to go in reality. Based on this theme, I did come across a Hindi show titled ‘Murder In Mahim’ which is streaming on Jio Cinema. As exciting as the title of the show is, I really was thrilled to witness two veteran actors Ashutosh Rana and Vijay Raaz leading the show. With a lot of anticipation, I ventured into the show Murder In Mahim…does it manage to impress, let’s find out.

Story & Screenplay

Based on a novel by Jerry Pinto, Murder In Mahim follows the investigation behind the string of grizzly murders that are committed in the Mahim area of Mumbai. The drama comprising of a strong underlying theme of the LGBTQIA community almost serves as a parallel commentary often superseding the murder plot that essentially forms the crux of the drama. The story here is interesting while being extremely sensitive about the portrayal and the theme of the LGBTQIA community that was an impressive step in the right direction. This, coupled with the murder plot that is engaging with its share of twists and turns along the way. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes ranging from 30 odd minutes to 40 odd minutes is compelling with a good sense of world building and characterization that allows character arcs to shape up. Yes, it does take a while to warm up but the reward is definitely a good one!

The drama begins on the dark bylanes of Mahim station in Mumbai wherein a seemingly homosexual man is murdered by an unknown entity. This kicks off an investigation featuring Inspector Jende who is at the helm of affairs, often referring to the victim as ‘Gud'(faggot) in a casual non-chalant manner. As a parallel plot point, you are introduced to a now retired journalist, Peter who starts to get a feeling that his son might be gay. The acceptance isn’t there even though Peter is supposedly ‘liberal’ but just doesn’t wish his son to ‘turn out to be gay’. As the investigation progresses, the two worlds collide wherein Peter and Jende coming off a bittersweet past must collaborate to solve the case, even as the body count begins to rise.

First thing that caught my attention was the characterization of the two protagonists. Both Peter and Jende have a calm demeanor on the outside but are homophobic men deep within, with each one of them having a homosexual entity in their vicinity known or unknown to them. And through them, both of them are shown to evolve as human beings with a little acceptance along the way that goes a distance. Yet, the world building is equally intriguing with the dark and mysterious lanes of Mumbai playing a significant character, representing a different vibe of the city. The clues are integral to this plot, as each one of them leads to different bunch of characters, which in the beginning will make you scratch your head but later you will definitely find them engaging! This, even as a searing commentary on the LGBTQAI is made either through the characters of Sunil(Peter’s son) or Firdaus(Jende’s colleague), a character brought up in a conservative Muslim household who hasn’t yet come out of her closet while sharing a secret bond with a girl from her neighbourhood.

After the initial world building that is a slow burn but equally absorbing, there is definitely a sense of urgency in the latter half of the show which until that point has had its share of twists and turns with respect to a few characters, some of whom are bumped off in a rather unexpected manner by the writers. The writing is definitely brave with the twists but equally sensitive with the portrayal of the LGBTQIA community that evokes a lot of underlying emotions while showcasing a sense of inclusivity. What was a slight worrying factor for me given its structure was whether the show would do justice to both worlds of an investigation and the social commentary, and that was done rather effectively. The grand revelation was slightly under-par and I did feel that it was done sooner than I would have expected, leading to a rushed chain of events in the final episode. But another twist in the tale at the end stalls the fall of the drama, even as the drama ends on a subtly moving note. Overall, the screenplay is well adapted and makes for a wonderful watch.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are extremely well written and equally profound and poignant in many ways. The lines that initially echo the mindset of the protagonists soon transform into something emotional with traces of poignancy. The BGM is pretty good and it elevates the drama at various junctures including highlighting the underlying set of emotions. The background score also highlights the themes of the underbelly of Mumbai that paints a completely different picture from the usual postcards that we are accustomed to from the city. This is also true for the cinematography that features the frames capturing the underbelly of Mumbai with panache. And the creative decision to shoot the series at real locations across the city just adds a layer of authenticity to the drama. The editing is crisp and sharp while not stalling the flow of the drama at most places. Director Raj Acharya does a tremendous job in understanding the soul of the drama and effectively translating it on celluloid with an incredible sense of world building and characters that showcase an arc. His control over the subject matter of allowing the drama to be cerebral and engaging, was a craft to savour. The direction was brilliant here in every sense of the word.


The performances are excellent by the ensemble cast. Ayush Gupta as Proxy, Aishwary Sharma as Sooraj, Jayesh Bhargav as Luqman and Anil George as Fonx have their moments to shine. Sonal Jha as Shaheen, the mother of Firdaus who is oblivious of her daughter’s sexual identity is first rate. Umesh Jagtap as ACP Singh will make your blood boil in the wake of the thought process of his character, that is a testimony to a good performance. Sonia Balani as Himali has a good screen presence and she definitely makes her presence felt. Benafsha Soonawalla as Rehana is equally good and the kind of softness that she beings to her character was heartening to witness. Bharat Ganeshpure as Durra had such a layered and complex character and he does a wonderful job. Rohan Verma as Sunil brings such nuance and grace to his performance that was sensitive in many ways.

Divya Jagdale as Minnie and Smita Tambe as Kalpana are such able actors that they manage to create a lasting impact despite a limited screentime. Nishant Kkhanduja as Viral is pretty decent in a job well done, Rajesh Khattar as Leslie gets his body language just right for his character. The veteran Shivaji Satam as Dhular represents a character that has a broken relationship with his son but slowly evolves well thus showcasing his character arc. And he delivers a rather heartfelt performance. Ashitosh Gaikwad as Unit is brilliant to the core, bringing such beautiful and moving expressions that not only humanizes him(and why shouldn’t it even otherwise) but also had me shedding a tear or two. The amount of pain that he had been carrying brought out so many layers of emotions in a brilliantly moving act!

Shivani Raghuvanshi as Firdaus provides a timely reminder on what a fine actor she is. Her subtle and nuanced performance highlights the vulnerability of her character beautifully, who is scared to come out of the closet yet just wants people to accept her identity. And while her conservative family doesn’t help her cause, sge gets support from unexpected quarters even as she lives the dual life of a cop who is sincere and earnest with her work. She was brilliant to the core here!

Ashutosh Rana(true for Vijay Raaz too) is perhaps one of the best actors ever produced by this country who can easily transition into the crux of his role. Here as Peter, he is wonderfully well restrained having a calm demeanor but fighting demons of his own in terms of acceptance towards his son’s sexual identity. Yet, to achieve precision with the amount of emotions while knowing how much is enough is a craft that many actors could learn from him. To give you a perspective, you see his character adapting to his situation by secretly reading a covered book on the LGBTQIA community when suddenly he offers money to a transgender character approaching him. To his surprise, she wanted just a picture of her friends and not money. Notice the change of expression on his face! Wonderful!

Vijay Raaz is yet another gem of the Hindi Film Industry and I am the happiest that he is finally getting his due with such meaty parts. As Inspector Jende, a character that non-chalantly used the term ‘Gud’ while fighting with his own set of insecurities, slowly sees himself evolve over the course of the investigation that breaks many stereotypes in his life. The brooding feeling of inclusivity was an eye-opener for him and it was so beautifully performed in a subtly towering performance. He shares a warm chemistry with his onscreen partner in crime(no puns intended) Peter, and the two actors often feed off energies from each other just so well. Vijay Raaz was brilliant here and seldom you see an actor excelling in comedy and serious roles with the ease with which he does here.


Murder in Mahim is a searingly effective and sensitive commentary on the LGBTQIA community packaged in an engaging murder investigation, and backed by towering performances that makes for a brilliant watch. Available on Jio Cinema and Highly Recommended!

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