Mafia the ZEE5 psychological thriller brings to the fore the discriminated ambience that gets created in the society we live in between the upper as well as the lower caste. It clearly brings to the helm the perception that people have and the kind of bias that the ‘privileged’ sect of people enjoy.
Director Birsa Dasgupta has come up with a gripping tale that brings together six friends who have been collegemates. They set on the path to recreate their earlier vacation at Madhupur and get to meet each other after 6 long years. Of course, their paths are different, their thought process seems to have changed. But eventually, they end up discovering that nothing has changed them in the last 6 years, as they get twined up in the earlier dark memories from the place.
And the tale proceeds as they encounter one eerie night which starts with the simple college game Mafia and ends up in a death spree.
The six friends Neha (Anindita Bose), Rishi (Tanmay Dhanania), Ritwik (Saurabh Saraswat), Sam (Aditya Bakshi), Ananya (Ishaa M Saha), Tanya (Madhurima Roy) get set for the reunion at Madhupur. Though not all are convinced to meet up again, they do make it, courtesy the friendship they have had over their college days.
What seems to be a trip to enjoy turns out to be one that exposes their dark sides, weaknesses and certain hidden truth that have been undercover for the last six years.
We get a feeling very clearly in the narrative that something drastic had happened six years back at the same place!! And this was enough to keep us hooked to the story.
But what took me time to understand was the fast-paced shift from the present to past in the narrative. The story has two facets to it, one the present where they pursue on their journey to reach Madhupur, to the past wherein they travelled to the same place to celebrate their college passing out. The shifts are so very quick that I was left wondering in certain scenes, whether this is an incident of the past or the present.
But once the clarity and semblance to the plot came in, the story is indeed gripping.
The fact of Ritwik and Tanya being the love babies that they were in the past, to Ritwik marrying Priyanka and parting from Tanya starts to be the bone of contention. The friction is very much visible and the actors play their parts very well.
Rishi being the alcoholic spoilt brat that he is seems a baddie from screen one, but has a heart of gold too for his friends. This character graph of Rishi is one impressive one.
Neha who is the backbone of the team, probably because she is the wisest one of all, is truly one powerful character. A journalist by profession, she is the one who impressed us the most.
Ananya aka Annie, the mentally imbalanced girl gave me a good time watching her in action. A girl plagued by the sexual abuse that she has seen in the past, Ananya as a character has been etched well.
Sam the most unpredictable of the six friends, is one character that has always been intriguing. A guy living under the shadow of the rich friend Rishi, he turns out to be the dark horse in the team.
Namit Das who was recently seen in the Hotstar series Aarya turns a new leaf in his acting repertoire with this role. Namit plays the role of Nitin who comes in at a point where the intrigue is at its peak. A police officer who has always been nipped at the bud for his keen interest in solving the murder cases involving lower caste is put to a serious test when he wants to solve the mystery that is linked to the bungalow in Madhupur.
His encounter with the 6 friends as he comes in as the unwanted guest, hiding his identity, peps up the interest in the storytelling.
All starts with Bidhua the good-featured, dusky tribal girl who creates an impact in the mind of Rishi in the very first scene during the trip they made 6 years back. His invite for her to stay with them as the housekeeper of their bungalow clearly gives an indication that something bad is gonna happen to the girl. No points for guessing who the victim will be, as the scene is a clear giveaway.
We later know that Bidhua was raped brutally by Rishi. But something more has happened to her, and that probably explains the eerie ambience in the bungalow now.
The dark night takes control and we see huge fights, animosity, jealousy riding high in the relationships. While one happening leads to another, we get to see deaths, with the friends meeting with their end one after the other.
Who is the black sheep? Is there anyone in the group who has turned into a real mafia, or is it Bidhua’s dark past that has come to haunt them again?
The onus to solve the mystery lies on the able shoulders of Nitin who has always wanted to get justice for the mishappenings in the tribal sect of people, especially the young girls.
The cast has done a fab job, must say!! Namit Das needs first mention as his entry brings in solidarity to the plot and opens up a new element in the storyline. As said earlier, special mention goes to Anindita Bose who handles her character with all sincerity.
Good job done by Ishaa, Madhurima, Saurabh to tell you.
The screenplay is effective to the core. The background music comes to haunt us, thus creating an impact for the story to flow.
Special mention to the ending and climax that leaves us in shock. But one bewildered thoughts hits me hard!! Accepted the killer has a reason to do whatever he/she has done, but how are the two that survive at the end even involved in whatever happened on that dark night six years back? One of them did not even know what happened to Bidhua that night, and the other knew only half of the story. And poor Priyanka, the wife of Ritwik, she was not even involved in any past mistake, but still had to lose her life!! These are aspects where I felt the writing could have been stronger!!
Overall, Mafia is a should-watch series, full of gripping and thrilling happenings. A strong cast that makes the storytelling even more effective!!
A shoutout to ZEE5 as it is indeed putting in the best in terms of innovation and concepts during this lockdown phase!!
IWMBuzz.com gives Mafia 3 stars!!