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Murder In The Hills review: The Anjan Dutt directorial just falls short of hitting the bullseye

A blood-stained tale of retribution, the murder thriller will keep you engaged as you discover what happens when past crimes catch up to the present.

3.5/5rating
Murder In The Hills review:  The Anjan Dutt directorial just falls short of hitting the bullseye

Official poster of the series

  • Raktim Das

Last Updated: 06.46 AM, Sep 17, 2022

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Story

Revolving around the death of a superstar Tony Roy, the story brings to life the grim alter side of the beautiful hill station of Darjeeling. A night of fun and enjoyment, soon takes a brutal turn when the icon falls dead surrounded by his local friends. What starts off as an attempt to write a simple obituary on the actor by a journalist Amitabha, unveils a trunk of lies, deception and conspiracies, showing the true colors of the hidden murderer, where everyone seems to harbour a motive for the crime. Threatening to expose some of the dirty secrets of the past, the line between the victim and the perpetrator goes for a toss, as you uncover the bloody trail Tony had left behind.

Review

A tightly-knit script with an engaging storyline forms the crux of the series. Without wasting any time, the murder is shown in the first episode only, grabbing your attention towards the fast pace, that will keep you on the edge of your seats. Although the narrative gets a bit jumbled up in the middle, it reclaims itself soon enough, before much damage is done. The shooting location of Darjeeling has been appropriately utilised, balancing out the suspense of the thriller. The tracks supplement the ongoing scenes, by either amplifying the mystery with ominous tunes, or serving as a respite with groovy music.

The story unfurls gradually and integrates quite a few sub-plots, which are elaborately explained to provide a gateway to the past. Juggling between two timelines, the director manages to reveal the buried incidents responsible for the present actions. However, the scenes often become mere means to provide the backstory, without paying much attention to emoting the feelings of loss caused by the tragic events, failing to connect with the audience.

Arjun and Anindita in a still from the show
Arjun and Anindita in a still from the show

Tony Roy is played by actor-director Anjan Dutt, making the character extremely believable as someone who is rotten inside out. Arjun Chakrabarty essays the role of Amitabha, and adapts seamlessly to the shade of an investigative journalist, who won’t back down without learning the truth, delivering a commendable performance – one worth remembering. Suprobhat Das plays the former footballer Bob Das and slips into the skin of his character effortlessly, making you suspect him while also sympathising with him. Rajdeep Gupta as cop Subhankar Banerjee and Sandipta Das as Dr Neema Pradhan, ace their parts with multi-layered portrayal and restrained acting. Veteran Rajat Ganguly fills the shoes of writer Ranjan Ganguly, and makes the role his own with his sheer skill and subtlety. Cameos by multiple artistes from Tollywood, are also included in many of the scenes that will take you by surprise, due to the impact they leave despite the short screen time.

A note-worthy and stirring monologue is delivered by Sandipta Das, emphasising how the media houses of today are more concerned about covering gossips and scandals of celebrities, rather than focusing on the issues that matter to commoners like the political upheaval, tea gardens being closed down and tourism disruptions. The commentary adds a flavour of realism to the narrative, giving it a pop beyond the average thrillers, which are dominant nowadays.

Some of the glaring flaws that haunt the series are its predictability, inability to connect with the audience, the quick climax and the lack of spine-chilling thrill. In spite of having a solid script, more twists and turns could have been added to mystify the audiences further. One of the drawbacks of relying too much on a past narrative is that it plays in hindsight, taking away the thrill of the present and making it very predictable. Also, the much-anticipated climax gets over in a swoosh, leaving behind a feeling of dissatisfaction.

The characters engage in a heated argument in a still from the show
The characters engage in a heated argument in a still from the show

Verdict

Despite the glitches that derail the experience at times, Murder in the Hills has all the necessary ingredients that make a successful thriller – from a well-explained backstory to a now-victim-once-perpetrator device, from the serene shooting locations of Darjeeling to powerful performances by the cast, from catchy music to a fast-paced plot. It is definitely worth your time, and is one of the hot recommendations that should be added to this week’s binge-list.

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