“Footfairy,” a 2021 investigation crime thriller, is directed by Kanishk Verma. The bilingual film, released in Hindi and Marathi, is loosely based on the cult Korean film Memories of Murder, directed by Bong Joon-Ho. The film has now been made available in Hindi and Marathi for streaming on Netflix.
‘Footfairy’ Story: What Happens in The Film?
Vivaan Deshmukh, a senior officer with the CBI Mumbai, is assigned the case of a woman murdered by asphyxiation. The pattern that the murderer follows is chopping the feet of the victim after killing them. Whenever the investigation authorities are informed of the body, it is found inside a suitcase with the feet of the victim chopped off. The film begins with this serial killer having committed murders, in the same way, a couple of times before, and the CBI is taking over with the 3rd murder surfacing, and on a hunt to look out for the perpetrator. The investigation team quickly discovers that the murderer has a foot fetish.
As Vivaan and his investigation team continue their inquiry into the murders, Vivaan, Harsh, and Rishabh come across plenty of leads. They follow the leads, and most of them take them to dead ends with no solid proof that their suspect might be the killer. The team almost catches the killer at the graveyard of his first victim but misses him by a fraction of a second. The hunt to find the killer forms the plot of the film.
‘Footfairy’ Ending Explained: Is the Serial Killer Finally Caught?
Vivaan and his team have no lead to take the murder investigation forward. The pressure from their seniors is palpable. Soon, the 4th victim of the murderer surfaces, now with the “Footfairy” engraved on the victim’s dead body. The force informs the public and the media of the existence of a serial killer named “Footfairy,” makes the public aware of what he does to his victims, and starts a hotline for the public to inform the police if they come across any suspicious person.
Vivaan slowly starts losing hope but then his girlfriend casually mentions to him a weird restaurant owner who seems to obsess over the feet of women who visit his restaurant. This makes Vivaan change his tangent and he starts enquiring about the restaurant owner, Joshua Mathews, a resident of Goa. On enquiring, Vivaan comes across plenty of women who reveal that on many occasions, Joshua spoke to them about how to keep one’s feet neat and clean, which most of them found weird. One of the foot spa workers also reveals the way Joshua used to look at her feet made her feel uncomfortable. Vivaan starts tracking Joshua and comes across plenty of information corroborating the fact that he might be the prime suspect, aka the Footfairy. He comes across details such as Joshua going out of town for days after every murder takes place, his ex-girlfriend filing an FIR against him for physically harming her, and most of the victims visitng his restaurant a few days before they ended up getting killed. Vivaan finally gets the nod to do a search of Joshua’s home and collect a DNA sample to corroborate his theory. The fifth victim of the Footfairy turns out to be a friendly 15-year-old neighbor of Vivaan, which makes him confront Joshua and assault him. Vivaan and his team finally get the DNA results back, unfortunately with inconclusive results, putting the entire investigation on the backfoot again.
In the end, Vivaan is seen attending the funeral of his superior and revealing that he left his job with CBI under pressure because of the defamation case filed by Joshua Mathews. Vivaan is now settled in Bangalore with his partner. On his way back, he stops near the railway track where the last victim’s body was found. He comes across a child who unexpectedly describes the killer, and Vivaan realizes that the killer is still out there and probably looks as normal as most people he sees around himself. An end credit scene of Footfairy has a white woman walking on her own in a seemingly snow-covered place, being attacked in the same way how the other victims in Mumbai were targeted and killed, making it clear that the killer is on the move, out of the city of Mumbai & shifted to another city to carry out his murders.
“Footfairy” leaves the audience frustrated as the film ends, the murderer is not caught and leaves a bittersweet taste. The usual trope followed by any whodunnit-serial killer mystery is the murderer is always caught by the end of the film in the most unusual fashion. Here the writer and director try their level best to convince the audience why it is okay to not catch the murderer, and not give the audience what they expect.
“Footfairy” is a homage to the Korean cult film Memories of Murder, which you can see Vivaan watching at one point, in one of the scenes. The frustration of the investigation officer who is unable to nab the murderer is what the film ends with. Vivaan is hoping someday that some other investigation officer might be able to nab the killer if he resurfaces. The climax of the film is open-ended. Not sure if it means there will be a sequel to this film, but an open-ended climax such as this one creates hope for a film that will take forward Vivaan’s hunt.
Vivaan, Harsh, and Rishabh, throughout the investigation, throw plenty of theories that reach nowhere. The killer was almost caught by Vivaan and his team if they weren’t caught up in the rain and a long chase sequence. By the physique of the silhouette noticed in the film, Joshua Mathew doesn’t seem to fit the physical appearance of the killer who was quick to escape. Joshua Mathews might have had a troubled history with his ex-girlfriend but that doesn’t corroborate the fact that he might be the killer. He becomes the usual suspect, an obvious suspect. The murderer in such cases or films is always someone no one expects.
The killer aka “Foot Fairy” is someone who knows the force is at it to nab him. Foot Fairy is taking the road less traveled to make sure no one from the CBI or the police can arrest him. The end credits scene is proof that the “Foot Fairy” is moved to another place to carry out the murders, throwing off Mumbai CBI by going outside of their jurisdiction to avoid arrest. “Foot Fairy” can also be a woman. It is easy to believe that a serial killer is always a man. There is no face shown in the film. The only image the investigation team has is of a person in a black hoodie, khaki pants, and a cap. By no means there is any proof a killer is a man or a woman. The semen samples collected also turned out to be someone the team thought to be a suspect, but his alibi proved the man was not the killer.
“Footfairy” is an interesting tale of an investigation officer’s obsession with finding out who the killer is. The screenplay by Kanish Verma and Ashish P Verma does not do any justice to a story that could have been complex and murky. A wafer-thin screenplay coupled with average performances held the film. Gulshan Devaiah as Vivaan Deshmukh can carry a film, but is let down by bad dubbing and a screenplay that had the potential to be superlative. “Foot Fairy” is a decent watch if you want to enjoy a film with a whodunit premise and thankfully no unnecessary subplots derailing the narrative.
“Footfairy” is now available in Hindi and Marathi with subtitles on Netflix.