Vishal Bharadwaj’s latest outing, in the form of a whodunnit Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley, is a story about a murder in a family. It also digs deep into the family of the deceased and how they react to the death. There is a pinch of humor added to this show to allow the audience to view it cheekily with a hint of satire. Every whodunnit drama ends with the revelation of the killer’s identity, who is generally a family member or someone from the vicinity with an ulterior motive. The same could be said about Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley. Here, we help you understand the chain of events that take place after the murder to find out who committed the crime.
What Happened On The Night Of The Murder?
Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley begins with a séance being conducted by a certain Dr. Rai, a ritual carried out after dinner with the entire family and friends in attendance. Brigadier Rawat was the only person missing from the gathering. This set the tone of the show because it was made clear that the man kept a distance from his family. He has his reasons, which are revealed as the show progresses.
As the séance continues, a young girl named Wasima acts out and predicts the Brigadier’s death. This could either mean there is some truth in the seance or that someone is trying to create a fear that Brigadier Rawat might die soon. Few hours after the seance, Brigadier Rawat was found murdered by his servant Hanif and his closest associate, Colonel Barua.
The brigadier’s nephew, Jimit “Jimmy” Nautiyal, was arrested because he was the last one seen at the scene of the crime. The police, being themselves, did not further investigate the possibility of another suspect who could have killed the man after Jimmy left. Jimmy’s arrest allows the audience to wonder if this case is an open and shut one or if there are complexities under the surface that only an investigation will reveal. The brigadier was known to be rich and owned a ski resort, which made the motive crystal clear.
Who Is Charulata “Charlie” Chopra?
Charulata “Charlie” Chopra is Jimmy’s fiancée, and she is close to everyone in his family. Amidst the cold weather, Charlie was sure that Jimmy was not capable of committing the murder, which made her look at other people in the family as suspects. The question remains: who was the most desperate for money? Charlie began her parallel investigation to help Jimmy, realizing the police would be of no help. This unearthed dark secrets about everyone in the family. Charlie had to step in because, back in her town, she was known for carrying out private investigation work. We get to see a flashback scene involving a young Charlie being in awe of the investigative work her mother had done until the day of her disappearance. There is no clear reason behind her mother being kidnapped or killed by someone, but this memory haunts Charlie. She kept her mother’s memory alive by carrying out investigative work.
Which Family Member Is A Suspect?
Charlie starts working with the local journalist Sitaram Bisht, and together they round up several suspects who could have killed the brigadier. They wanted the police to look beyond Jimmy and look for the killer, who was still at large. Charlie and Sitaram’s first suspects were Jimmy’s sister Saloni and her husband Manas, who claim to have a lot of money from his best-selling books, but the situation on the ground seems different.
The next suspects were Brigadier Rawat’s brother Mohan and his wife Janki, who had an ailing son suffering from a kidney-related issue, and they needed money for the treatment. She also finds out about them running a lab that produces high-quality marijuana. This proves that Mohan and his wife are part of a drug racket as well. Charlie slowly learns about the family she will be marrying into, and each member is shadier than the last. This parallel investigative work was carried out to help the audience join the dots and get a clear picture of who might be the killer.
The next suspect is Wilayat and her daughter, Wasima Khan, who many claim is the illegitimate daughter of the brigadier, which is why she lives close to the family. While Wilayat tries to hide much information about herself and her daughter, Charlie and Sitaram come to know that the mother and daughter’s real names are Bunty and Pinky Aftab. The mother was a mistress to a local mafia kingpin, and she was accused of murdering him. Jimmy’s younger brother, Bittu, was in love with Pinky Aftab, and he worked as a henchman with the kingpin. His love for her brought them to Manali in the hope Bittu’s uncle would fund their escape from the country. The motive here is money, but Charlie has reasons to believe they did not kill the brigadier.
Adding to the mystery is Nicole, the brigadier’s Scottish fiancée showed up in Manali knowing that his family were a pack of vultures who just wanted his money. She contests his will in the hope of taking over all the property for herself. Nicole does come across someone who is banking on the deceased’s money since she is officially not a part of the family. As the story progresses, we get to see why she was not wrong about the family. Nicole claims to be pregnant, which will automatically pass on all the property to her unborn child. The mystery surrounding the death of the brigadier becomes all the murkier when Nicole dies in a skiing accident, prompting Charlie to understand that the killer was on the move and that he or she was getting rid of every obstacle.
Was Brigadier Rawat Not A Good Person?
Brigadier Rawat, as we understood, was a man who was proud of the money he made for himself. His ski resort was his pride, and he would not let anyone mess with it. He had hired his friend Colonel Barua, for he felt this man could be the only person who could be trusted with the fortune he’d built. The brigadier does come across as an arrogant man who is unwilling to financially help any of his family members. There are no right or wrong people in this scenario. The brigadier was selfish but probably also craved to be around people who were honest with him.
The family, on the other hand, was going through financial issues and expected Brigadier Rawat to help them. Familial ties are the core of the value system in the country. Brigadier Rawat’s unwillingness to help anyone got him into the bad books of everyone, even though he met up with family from time to time. The entire arc of Brigadier Rawat shows that he was not innocent as well, but that does not justify his murder.
When Did Charlie Realize She Was On To The killer?
Charlie speaks to Jimmy in prison to find out if he heard or saw anyone inside the brigadier’s home. Jimmy claimed to have seen someone at the keyhole on the door. Charlie shared this information with Colonel Barua to help him understand that the killer was inside the house for a while before leaving the premises.
Charlie realized she was on the right path when someone attempted to kill her, but she was rescued quickly by Mohan. We could guess, from this juncture, the identity of the killer. The killer was afraid that Charlie would stop at nothing until they were caught. Murders such as this always get solved rather quickly, especially if the family members are suspects. None of them could run away from town, that would make it obvious who the culprit could be. A crime drama such as this one allows the investigators to make mistakes, but they soon find the right path and discover the killer.
Pinky Aftab reveals that she is schizophrenic, for which she takes medications provided by Mohan’s wife, Janki Rawat, a psychiatrist by profession, and the medicines are delivered by Colonel Barua. Charlie wanted the medicines to be checked at the lab to know if the girl was getting any better. Charlie probably had a hunch about who the killer might be after the attempt on her life; she only wanted to find a trail that could lead her to the culprit. Charlie consumes the medicines meant for Pinky and reveals that they are candies. This proved that Pinky’s health was probably deteriorating. It was either Janki or Colonel Barua who was messing with the medication but there was still no definite connection made as to how this could be related to the brigadier’s death.
Charlie also had the recording of the séance that happened on the night of the murder, which she listened to repeatedly to understand what triggered Pinky to behave the way she did. Charlie and the police came together, and she tried hard to connect the dots and reach a definitive conclusion.
Who Killed Brigadier Meherban Singh Rawat?
Charlie concluded that Colonel Barua killed Brigadier Rawat, but the man was found dead. Colonel Barua committed suicide after leaving a long suicide letter on his PC claiming that he was livid at his oldest friend Brigadier Rawat for planning to close the Ski Resort, which had become Barua’s reason to live. Barua claims that Brigadier was indeed a selfish man who did not think about anyone else but himself. This made him kill the man right after the séance that predicted the brigadier’s demise. Everyone figured the man would walk to Manali in this weather, but many were not aware of his skiing abilities. He arrived before time and killed the man out of spite.
Barua probably figured Brigadier Rawat had trusted him, and there was a brotherly bond they had created since their army days. He never expected the brigadier to abandon him for the sake of his fiancée. We believe Barua was enraged about the fact that the brigadier did not consult him before making these major decisions. The man thought he was the only one the brigadier trusted outside of his family. Since the brigadier was planning to build his own life with Nicole, Barua felt the need to kill the man and Nicole so that the ski resort never closed. The motive was to retain the ski resort.
Charlie is hailed for cracking the case, but she still feels the way Barua passed and left a suicide note came across as a convenient end to the hunt. Jimmy was acquitted, and Charlie was invited by his family to celebrate her triumph. Charlie was quick to understand who the killer could be, and she found the perfect place to reveal her identity. She requests Dr. Rai to begin the séance and utilizes Pinky to get the name of the killer. We assume this was just a trick used by Charlie. She pushed some buttons so that the killer could come out and confess. As Charlie lets out a whistle, Pinky goes into a frenzy, just like at the beginning of the show, but this time her bodily reactions are far more violent. As Janki is instructed to bring Pink under control, it is revealed that she was the one who planned and orchestrated Brigadier Rawat’s death.
Janki reveals that she and the brigadier were in love in their younger days, but they broke things off when she got pregnant, and he refused to take care of it. Out of desperation, she married his brother and eventually came to love him. She made sure Meherban knew about Varun’s parentage and his health condition, for which he provided enough financial support but at a price. The brigadier’s arrogant nature made her feel guilty about asking for monetary support. This made her come up with an elaborate plan to kill him. She took advantage of Pinky Aftab and Colonel Barua and manipulated the girl, even though she is not supposed to, as a psychiatrist. Janki did the same with Barua and convinced him to kill the brigadier. She figured Colonel Barua could become a liability, which is why she dunked most of his heart-related medication in his tea to present it as suicide.
Janki was distressed from the day the Brigadier refused to marry her. Everything from that point on was difficult for her because she could not bear the man anymore. The fact that he considered helping Varun as a favor and not a duty made her feel obsolete. All her life, she lived with the secret that Varun was the son of the man she once loved but now loathes. Her cycle of suffering was never-ending. It was amplified because the brigadier chose his new fiancée over his son’s well-being. Janki could not come to terms with the fact that her one mistake would lead to a lifetime of suffering because she had to deal with the brigadier on a regular basis.
Janki apologizes to her husband, but we are not sure the relationship will be the same from here on. Either the family will move on from this incident or Janki will most probably go behind bars for planning the killing of Brigadier Meherban Rawat. The family could also be happy that a man like Brigadier Rawat is not alive and decide to protect Janki at any cost.
Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley ends with Charlie heading back to Manali, and in the cable car, she notices a voice speaking to her about her mother. We are guessing Charlie herself suffers from some mental health issues ever since her mother’s disappearance. The voice is probably indicating that maybe her mother is still alive. She also notices the woman in a red robe covering her head. This could be the Lady Rose, an entity apparently under the control of Dr. Rai. The makers did not elaborate on the legend of Lady Rose, which makes us wonder if the woman existed or if she was just a figment of Charlie’s imagination, as Pinky sees. Charlie will most likely look for her mother and seek closure on that front.