Movie Review: Mumbai Police (Malayalam)

In contrast to most crime thrillers and daringly different is Mumbai Police (2013), an unconventional murder mystery directed by Rosshan Andrrews that opens with Antony Moses suffering a horrific car accident just as he is about to disclose the identity of the person who shot dead his cop friend Aaryan John Jacob at a gallantry awards ceremony. The mishap, in a cruel twist of fate, leaves him clueless about his own identity and no one to turn to but Farhan Ashraf, his brother-in-law, who proceeds to tell Antony that, like him, he is also a police officer, and that they are the best of friends. And I am hooked.

Because Ashraf entrusts him with the same case, wanting him to start afresh and retrace the steps he took to arrive at the solution he arrived at a few days ago. As if that wasn't enough, he is also shown a lot of faces and told who they are, even if he hasn't the faintest idea of who they really are and what they mean to him. For all he knows, one of them could very well be the murderer. But it's not just that. It's also the realisation that he was not the most popular guy to work with, that he was a man who frequently exercised his machismo in violent ways to silence others and plow his way through.

Mumbai Police, like every other cop procedural, is not without its flaws. For a start, the title has no real bearing on the events that transpire in the film, the pace is terribly uneven, slacking when you least expect it to, but then that could be blamed on the way the story alternates between the past and present as Antony attempts to fill the gaps in his mind and learn the real truth about his identity. And then you have the climactic reveal itself. It's outright shocking, no two ways about it, the kind of surprise you don't see coming your way.

(Major spoiler alert) At a time when homosexuality is still illegal in the country, it takes courage to defy stereotypes by making the cop in question a gay man still coming to terms with his sexuality. Who would have thought? Not me, for sure. Which is why it's such a shame the movie succumbs to terrible gay stereotypes to put its point across, further weakening the motive for the murder. May be it was worth it considering the fallout, but why would Aaryan, being his close friend, even reveal it in the first place? There is no knowing it, it's fiction after all. Yet to have queer characters represented as a lead is nothing short of revolutionary.

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