This murder mystery keeps you on edge

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STORY: Vikrant aka Vicky Rai, industrialist with the Casanova lifestyle, is killed at his own party to celebrate his acquittal in the rape and murder of two young girls. His father, Jagannath Rai, who is also Chhattisgarh’s Home Minister, is asking for a CBI investigation. Officers Suraj Yadav and Sudha Bharadwaj are leading the investigation after six suspects.

REVIEW: The nine-part series is based on Vikas Swarup’s 2016 novel “Six Suspects”, which begins with Vivek aka Vicky Rai, son of Uttar Pradesh’s Home Minister, fatally shooting a bartender Ruby Gill in a trendy New Delhi restaurant. Incidentally, this opening was similar to the Jessica Call murder case in which Manu Sharma, son of politician Venod Sharma, shot the model dead for refusing to serve her drinks at a posh resto-bar in the capital. Adapted and written by director Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vijay Maurya and Puneet Sharma, the series opens with cops stopping a car at a checkpoint as the inspector wants a lift. However, when the driver starts running when asked to open the trunk, suspicion is raised and the cops find the bodies of two girls inside. The vehicle is registered to industrialist Vikrant alias Vicky Rai (Jatin Goswami), who is also the son of Chhattisgarh’s Home Minister, Jagannath Singh (Ashutosh Rana).

Predictably, he is acquitted after his influential father pulls some strings and also bribes the police investigating the case. To mark the closure of this case, Vicky organizes a party at the family farm in Chhatarpur, on the occasion of the third anniversary of her arrest. And in the middle of the celebrations, he is shot. Even as a Munna server (Shashank Arora) and an Eketi tribal Andamans (Mani PR) are arrested with a gun on them on the premises, Jagannath demands a CBI investigation claiming he was being targeted. Enter CBI Officer Suraj Yadav (Pratik Gandhi) and Police Officer Sudha Bharadwaj, who was part of the team investigating Vicky’s previous case, to find out who pulled the trigger on the Minister of Justice’s son. ‘Interior and why.

Dhulia, Maurya and Sharma adapted Swarup’s novel fabulously and their tale is sure to have you on the edge of your seat guessing who killed Vicky and why. Plus, each of the suspects, from Munna and Eketi to Shabnam and Mohan Kumar (Raghubir Yadav), has a grouse with and a good reason to see Vicky’s end. Soon you also see that revenge alone is not the motive and a political conspiracy could also be at play here.

While the source material (Swaup’s book) is captivating enough, Dhulia assures that her adaptation also got you invested and involved in the matter. Its narrative style, with telling the story from the character’s point of view and plenty of back and forth, keeps you glued to your seat and your eyes fixed on the screen to know what happens next. Not to mention, the storyline has a healthy dose of realistic touches – from the creation of a state for Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Shashikat Vora’s (Kenneth Desai) affiliations with ultra-left organizations as a student, casteism, the role of the media as an influencer and the formation of public opinion, anonymous vlogging and what have you. Moreover, as the script travels from Delhi to Rajasthan, Andamans, Kolkata, Chennai, Jharkhand, etc., it has also made sure to include local flavor in its narrative.

Pratik Gandhi delivers a fine performance as CBI officer Suraj Yadav who also has a political line to follow. He aptly portrays the different sides of Suraj Yadav, when he reports to political heavyweight Ambika Prasad (Vineet Kumar), interrogates suspects, asserts his point of view when discussing the case with Sudha or succumbs to charms by Rita Sethi (Himanshi Chaudhary). As no-nonsense cop Sudha Bharadwaj, Richa Chadha holds his own against Gandhi’s Suraj Yadav and like him also has his own agenda.

Ashutosh Rana effectively plays Jagannath Rai, who puts his interests and political aspirations above everything and everyone, including his family. Raghubir Yadav convincingly portrays the evil nature of Mohan Kumar, who can also be Mohandas (Gandhi) when it suits his purpose.

Sharib Hashmi (as Welfare Worker Ashok Rajput), Paoli Dam, Shashank Arora, Jatin Goswami and the rest of the cast play their roles as planned.

Cinematographer Rishi Punjabi shot the series realistically, while treating different locations differently. Editing by Unnikrishnan PP and Prathamesh Chande ensures the narrative doesn’t drag, while music by Raghu Dixit and Ketan Sodha adds to the drama.

Even though it is based on a book, this series produced by Ajay Devgn is a compelling watch for its suspense, drama and excellent performances by an interesting ensemble cast.

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