“Murder in Mahim” 2024 TV Show Review

The screen adaptation of Jerry Pinto’s celebrated novel “Murder in Mahim” has recently graced the streaming platform JioCinema.

While the novel was lauded for its nuanced exploration of the gay community in Mumbai, rooted in the backdrop of the controversial Section 377, the series, under the direction of Raj Acharya, struggled to capture the essence and complexity that made the original work stand out.

This review dissects the various aspects where the series stumbled and its few redeemable qualities.

'Murder in Mahim' 2024 TV show review
Credit: Thgim.com

Diverging from the Source

Jerry Pinto’s “Murder in Mahim” is not just a murder mystery; it’s a kaleidoscope of Mumbai’s socio-political landscape, especially the life and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

When the Supreme Court of India read down Section 377 a year after the book’s publication, it marked a watershed moment for the community.

The series, emboldened by this hindsight, aimed to showcase these changes but instead surfaced as preachy rather than profound.

The initial scenes set the tone for a straightforward, albeit, bland narrative – a stark contrast to Pinto’s richly textured storytelling.

The finding of a mutilated body in the public urinals of Mahim station kicks off a series of investigations, spearheaded by Shiva Jende (Vijay Raaz) and later joined by retired journalist Peter Fernandes (Ashutosh Rana), whose son’s number was found on the victims’ phone.

This dual investigation aimed to dive deep into Mumbai’s underground gay scene and the entrenched prejudices.

However, the series fell short in capturing the essence of Mumbai’s queer milieu, coming off as detached from the lived realities that Pinto’s book adeptly captured.

Character Conundrums

While the series benefits from a strong cast, with Vijay Raaz and Ashutosh Rana bringing gravitas to their roles, the development of their characters along with others leaves much to desire.

For instance, the addition of assistant sub-inspector Firdaus was intended to inject a modern, queer perspective into the narrative but ended up functioning more as a placeholder than as a fleshed-out character.

Character Conundrums
Credit: Fugitives.com

The script, largely faithful to Pinto’s original work, misses out on the vibrant colloquialisms that brought Mumbai to life on the page.

Moreover, relationships between characters, especially between Shiva and Peter, which could have added a rich layer of drama and history, are explored only in stretches, missing the chance to delve into complexities beyond the case at hand.

Lacking Subtlety and Depth

Comparing “Murder in Mahim” to paramount crime dramas like “Dahaad” or “Pataal Lok” reveals a stark difference in storytelling caliber. These series succeeded in not only entertaining but also enlightening the audience about the deeper societal malaises they explored.

In contrast, the transformation of characters in “Murder in Mahim”, particularly in the series’ rushed conclusion, feels unearned. The narrative expediently sorts characters into categories of friends and foes, bypassing the moral ambiguities that lend crime dramas their tension and intrigue.

Final Thoughts

“Murder in Mahim” had the potential to be a riveting crime drama, offering a lens into the lives affected by Section 377’s shadow long after its amendment.

However, the series struggles under the weight of its ambition, failing to translate the nuanced storytelling and rich character tapestry of the novel onto the screen.

Amidst a landscape where Indian content is progressively pushing boundaries, “Murder in Mahim” serves as a reminder of the potent blend of empathy and storytelling required to do justice to complex narratives.

As the series currently streams on JioCinema, one can only hope it sparks further conversations about the portrayal of LGBTQ+ narratives in Indian cinema and the profound difference between intention and execution in adapting beloved works.

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