Pratik Gandhi & Richa Chadha’s Whodunnit Drama Is Intriguing In Flashbacks But Half-Baked In Present
Cast: Richa Chadha, Pratik Gandhi, Ashutosh Rana, Jatin Goswami, Raghuvir Yadav, Sharib Hashmi, Shashank Arora, Amey Wagh, Mani and Ensemble.
Creator: Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar.
Language: English (with subtitles).
Runtime: 9 Episodes, Around 45 Minutes Each.
The Great Indian Murder Review: What’s It About:
A massively influential man Vicky Rai (Jatin), who is an outright devil has made many enemies on his way. One fine day his plan fails and he ends up in the prison for three years. On his return, he throws a party and is still the same monster. But his enemies seek justice and he gets murdered. The police (Richa) and CBI (Pratik) get involved and together they set out to solve the mystery of The Great Indian Murder.
The Great Indian Murder Review: What Works:
Adapted by Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vijay Maurya and Puneet Sharma, The Great Indian Murder is based on Vikas Swarup’s book Six Suspects. Now, I haven’t read the book, so my analysis is entirely based on the show that hits Hotstar. Whodunnit as a genre walks on a very thin line where it is supposed to hook its audience by giving only much that they have enough fodder to chew and also make sure that the fodder doesn’t spoil the big reveal.
The Great Indian Murder as a story is exciting even on paper. The victim here isn’t someone people will have any empathy for. But in the eyes of law crime has happened against him and he deserves justice. But in a landscape where politicians can encash even their dear ones’ death, will the scenario be this black and white? Certainly not. Dhulia and his team of writers who adapt the book play in the greys. They spread their characters like a game of chess. Who double-crosses who isn’t predictable. It is a puzzle that has many disjointed pieces but they all somehow lead to a night that brings the doom.
The show while being about the murder is not completely focusing on the crime only. It spreads out to tell the story of the people who are said to be the suspects. As the title of the book suggests, more than finding who killed the man, it is about what all unusual circumstances led these people being suspected. There is a boy Munna (Shashank) who wants a better life with his lady love. His sister Champi, who puts others before her.
A tribal Eketi who is in search of the idol of his god stolen from his village in Andaman. This is the best part of the narrative. Eketi has all my heart as the character suffers for things that he never does in the first place. Through his gaze we understand his culture. The extreme belief or superstition in an idol that looks like some unknown God. His pain is the deepest of them all. His character becomes three dimensional in a way that I would love to have an Eketi spin-off movie.
There is also a man who is possessed by Gandhiji’s spirit (Raghuvir). All of them together form the suspects and their stories take the centre stage. So Vicky’s death only becomes medium for us to learn about all the aforementioned stories.
Tigmanshu Dhulia the director has a style. Even if he experiments and goes away from his core (which he does here and successfully till an extent), there will be his signature. His style of using glamour, incorporating a commentary about the society and film industry remains the same and it isn’t so subtle.
Besides, Dhulia incorporates the greed, politics, power dynamic, a father who literally goes on to monetise his son’s death, and it all does hit us.
The Great Indian Murder Review: Star Performance:
The stars of The Great Indian Murder are Mani and Shashank Arora. The two come in to play the most emotional parts and end up adding their flavour to it. Mani plays Eketi with honesty and confusion. Though not much dialogues, his gestures and eyes say enough. Arora can play such characters even when he is the least prepared. I hope one big reveal about him could have been used more sensitively.
Jatin Goswami plays Vicky with all the hate in him. He beats people, kicks them and you have to hate him from the very first scene. The actor does quite an impressive job. Ashutosh Rana with his experience elevates his part of the story and it all sits together nicely.
As said Richa and Pratik deserved deeper and more layered parts. They do complete justice to whatever they have been given, but that is just not enough. We have seen them do many complex things with ease.
Raghuvir Yadav is well an actor who has never had a single bad performance in his resume. He continues the streak.
The Great Indian Murder Review: What Doesn’t Work:
The fact that the show mainly explores the suspects is good, but this is also where the narrative dips. While the suspects of course take the centre stage, rest all becomes one tone. Richa Chadha and Pratik Gandhi’s cops are characters that could have had their own separate world and a meatier one, but that doesn’t happen.
This clearly segregates the show in two parts. The strong flashbacks and half baked present. A more nicely sketched out blue print could have done wonders.
The music in The Great Indian Murder doesn’t help much in the complete experience. The cinematography takes a staple route as well.
The Great Indian Murder Review: Last Words:
Tigmanshu Dhulia does leave his comfort zone to make the show, but some notes do fall loose. It isn’t a bad show, it is a decent watch that could have been more fun if a few more things were looked after.
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