Bollywood Reviews, Movie Reviews

MURDER MUBARAK Is A Whodunnit That Doesn’t Understand Its Own Genre

Hollywood seemed very interested in murder mysteries after the success of Knives Out. The genre saw kind of a resurgence with new adaptations of the Agatha Christie novels starring Kenneth Branagh as the lead Poirot. Not to mention the adaptations into other genres like Adam Sandler’s aptly titled, Murder Mystery. Bollywood looks to be catching up with various versions of their own contributions. The latest Netflix original film is Murder Mubarak, a disappointing entry into a genre that the makers don’t seem to really understand. Which is even more upsetting, given the talent on and off the screen in this movie. Read on for my Murder Mubarak review.

Please note that the following Murder Mubarak review will feature some spoilers.

What Is Murder Mubarak About?

Murder Mubarak Tripathi

Image via Netlix

Honestly, the comparison to Knives Out is sort of the best synopsis I can provide for Murder Mubarak. While the story is different, the character archetypes and formula are very much inspired. The story centres around a lavish local club, the Royal Delhi Club, and its various members with their own personal dramas. The movie begins when a murder kick starts an investigation, which reveals the inner workings of the club, and all the sordid little details begin to work their way out. Enter the police officer in charge of the investigation, Bhawani Singh (Pankaj Tripathi), as the simple yet wise, local cop who waxes poetic with his regional affectations and has an anecdote for every situation.

Through Singh, we learn of everyone’s relationships and connections to one another; who’s sleeping with whom, who has money problems, and who is lying, ultimately leading to who the murderer might be. Tripathi is incredible as Singh, and honestly, carries the entire film. However, it’s a Tripathi performance that we’ve seen many times in his filmography. It’s not a bad performance, but it’s like his own Poirot or Benoit Blanc-type character that traverses multiple Bollywood movies’ universes. But the familiarity of Tripathi’s performance is the only saving grace of this Murder Mubarak review.

Not Getting The Genre It’s Set In

Murder Mubarak Death

Image via Netlix

The movie doesn’t entirely work for a lot of reasons. First of all, the actual story itself. Usually, other stories in the murder-mystery genre lay out all the information for the audience with the clues in plain sight, while the climax connects all of those clues into a dramatically satisfying conclusion. How the storytelling does that, through flashbacks, narration, CGI or other visually interesting ways, is dependent on the filmmaker.

Murder Mubarak however, sets up many interesting dynamics, character relationships, and very specific events, that have absolutely no payoff whatsoever. For example, Shehnaz (Karisma Kapoor) is an actress who is running for Club President. This is all we know of her. Other than an emotionally charged monologue where she reveals information to Singh that leads him to find her dark secret: a child she gave up for adoption years ago. This storyline has absolutely nothing to do with the murder or anything else in the movie. This happens a lot. And the ending is this even more convoluted reveal that left me confused and baffled.

A Tonal Mish Mash That Can’t Settle On Its Vibe

Murder Mubarak Kapoor

Image via Netlix

Another reason for this negative Murder Mubarak review is that the movie can’t decide on what it wants to be. It starts as a sort of dark comedy but then becomes serious. With the entrance of Tripathi, it becomes a low-brow comedy complete with silly sound effects, which then devolves further into slapstick during a big brawl with all the characters in one of the movie’s more impressive sequences. Not to mention unrequited love, past trauma and other elements that are just surface set dressing for the characters. But throughout, the movie keeps going back and forth from all these various tones, which really took me out of the experience. Even the ending tries to do this open-ended, sentimental kind of conclusion that’s contradictory to the rest of the movie and was just confusing as hell.

Murder Mubarak Review Conclusion

I have to end this Murder Mubarak review by advising Bollywood filmmakers to please, stop using goofy and silly sound effects to underscore the comedy of a scene. This is even more surprising when you know that the director, Homi Adajania, is responsible for some dark and hilarious movies like Finding Fanny and Being Cyrus.

Overall, Murder Mubarak is a forgettable movie with some good performances, like Sara Ali Khan as this grieving widow with a complicated relationship history. But even she completely loses me during the climax when her inexperience and lack of range stick out like a sore thumb. And other than morbid curiosity or the semi-huge ensemble cast, there’s no other reason to check out Murder Mubarak. But if you still want to…

Murder Mubarak is now streaming on Netflix.

What did you think about this new Netflix original series? Let me know in the comments below. Or over at X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid where I always talk Bollywood.

MURDER MUBARAK Is A Whodunnit That Doesn't Understand Its Own Genre
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 5/10
  • Watchability - 8/10
  • Rewatchability - 5.5/10
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