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This is an LGBTQIA story told from the lens of the working class.

Film: Murder in Mahim

Director: Raj Acharya

Cast: Ashutosh Rana, Vijay Raaz, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Shivaji Satam, Divya Jagdale, Rajesh Khattar, Smita Tambe, Benafsha Soonawalla


In the name of inclusivity, LGBTQIA+ is a subject that has been done to death. Yet, the surface has been barely scratched. We all hailed Zoya Akhtar for the respect given to the trans character in ‘Made in Heaven’, but here comes ‘Murder in Mahim’, which turns the camera away from dreamy weddings and urban LGBT slangs towards the deserted lanes turned into hook-up joints for homosexual persons.

In this adaptation of Jerry Pinto’s novel ‘Murder in Mahim’, director Raj Acharya takes you on a journey to the slums, gay clubs, red light area and a secluded toilet at the end of a railway station where the murder happens. It unlocks a trail of blood, but splashes everywhere!

The story is set in 2013, a time when same-sex relationships hadn’t been decriminalised, but most themes are still relatable enough. Prejudice against same-sex relationships still lurks in society, waiting to ambush aspirations and, at times, lives. As Raj employs seasoned actors Vijay Raaz and Ashutosh Rana as investigation officer Shiva and retired journalist Peter Fernandes, respectively, to do the job of finding the criminal, it is hard to look past their characters. They make a terrific duo as friends reunited through this murder investigation. Shivani Raghuvanshi, as lady inspector Firdaus Rabbani, adds to the narrative as she fights homophobia at the workplace and at home.

Writers Mustafa Neemuchwala and Udai Singh Pawar have given some nice moments, igniting hope for a better tomorrow. While some scenes address the gory and dark side of society through characters like corrupt cops, dreadful criminals, blackmailers and sex offenders, characters such as Leslie (Rajesh Khattar), Peter and Shiva try to help understand the community better. The underlying thread of Peter discovering his son to be gay and learning how to talk about it with his son, who isn’t out of the closet, is heartwarming. Similarly, when they invite a sex worker home for lunch in an attempt to understand his son, it seems to say that we often misjudge what we can’t understand.

For an eight-episode series, it’s a bit stretched. While everyone is used to their utmost potential, the villain needed to be of the level of Vijay Raaz and Rana. He deserved a stronger character arc. Not to forget, like every other whodunit, here, too, everything is conveniently laid out.

Told from the lens of the working class, this LGBTQIA story hits home and will hopefully change the viewpoints of many.