Investigative thrillers are the new talk of the town, and of all the countless movies and television shows in this genre, only a handful of them turn out to be interesting. Gumraah, directed by Vardhan Ketkar, can’t count itself a part of that group at all. The story revolves around two lookalikes who happen to be suspects in a murder. It is the police’s job to find out who the killer is and their motive.
The Murder And The Investigation
Gumraah begins with the gruesome murder of a rich man in his luxurious home. The viewers have been shown the face of the killer so that it is easy to follow the plot, which revolves around how the police investigation will lead to this man. The motive is not revealed, but how the man was murdered makes one wonder if it was the work of a serial killer or if this was done for revenge. The victim’s name is Aakash Sardana, and cash worth 20 lakhs is missing from his locker. The case is led by SI Shivani Mathur and ACP Dhiren Yadav, who have been on opposite sides of the investigative spectrum since the beginning. Dhiren Yadav believes he knows more than Shivani because he is a seasoned officer, and that is why we see a tinge of arrogance in his behavior. Meanwhile, SI Shivani is a no-nonsense newbie cop who works diligently and is willing to learn more about the job from her superiors.
The investigation involves one of the neighbors providing a photograph of the suspect he clicked accidentally. This is a big breakthrough right at the beginning of the investigation. Shivani was surprised to have gotten this major lead, for it generally takes a while to find evidence and nab a suspect in cases of murder. The photograph was enough for ACP Yadav to identify the suspect as Arjun Sehgal. It can be assumed from the distaste he showcases that there is a history between Arjun and ACP Yadav, and it is not a good one. ACP Yadav is hell-bent on labeling him the prime accused because of his lingering personal conflict with Arjun.
Within hours of Arjun’s interrogation, the police force comes across a dilemma. Their team brings in a local goon, Sooraj Rana. ACP Yadav and SI Shivani are stunned to see that Sooraj is a lookalike of Arjun Sehgal. The audience watching the film and the cops in the film are equally shocked to see the turn of events unfolding in front of them. The police have no clue how to proceed with the case with two suspects with the same face. Are Arjun and Sooraj related to one another, or do they just happen to be two people with similar facial features? This investigation turns out to be more complicated than before, and the audience watching the film at this point feel bewildered with the turn of events.
Arjun And Jahnvi
Three months before the investigation, Jahnvi and Arjun had fallen in love through many adorable meet-cutes. The two of them come from two different working backgrounds, but they seem to complement each other. As they solidify their relationship, Jahnvi is off to Mumbai for a college reunion, and just before that, Arjun asks her to marry him, to which she says yes. She feels it was about time that he asked this question. They haven’t been together for long, but the two of them understand each other very well. It is easy to assume that once she is back from her trip, they will begin working on their wedding plans.
Sooraj And His Gambling Problem
Sooraj, who is a goon, and his friend Chaddi were hired by a local businessman to steal an ATM, but they fled with the money in it instead of giving it to the man who hired them. The said man kidnaps Chaddi in the hope of getting the money back. Sooraj has a gambling addiction, and using the money he earns from gambling, he hopes to rescue him because Chaddi is the only mate he has by his side with whom he can carry out such heists in the future. This whole setup was a ruse to make Sooraj an obvious suspect, keeping in mind his criminal background. This would also help the police to circle back and understand that maybe Arjun should not be a suspect since he does not have a prior criminal record. From here on, it was easy to assume who committed the murder.
Arjun And Sooraj Are Brothers
The forensic report is not helpful because it points to the fact that Arjun and Sooraj are both suspects. A strand of hair found on Aakash’s body comes as a hope to crack the case, but Arjun and Sooraj’s DNA matches the evidence found on the body. This further baffles both the police and the viewers watching the film because one wonders where this movie is even headed. The forensic team also reveals that Arjun and Sooraj’s samples also match each other, proving that they are twin brothers. It is jarring at this point because the police did not even consider the possibility of them being twins, which shows how botched up the investigation is.
Arjun and Sooraj had a rough childhood where their mother was subjected to emotional abuse by their father. Their divorce led to the father getting custody of the two because the mother had a severe gambling addiction. The fact that they grew up in a household that suffered a broken marriage had a severe impact on them. Their mother’s eventual suicide also caused a rift between the two. Sooraj was close to his mother, and he was deeply affected by her death because he was never allowed to stay with her. His constant fights with Arjun were only because of one topic of contention: their mother.
The Death Of Aakash Sardana
The police could not determine the culprit as there were never any fingerprints found at the scene of the crime to distinguish between Arjun and Sooraj. Their forensic report turned out to be of no use, and the alibis mentioned by the two of them also matched, as confirmed by the police. Unless the police got a confession out of either of the two, they did not have evidence to support their claim that either Arjun or Sooraj is the culprit here. This again proves that the police were not investigating this case competently, which led to the release of the prime suspects. The investigation team had one job to do, which was to secure the crime scene and collect sufficient evidence to lead them to the suspects.
A few weeks later, as the case is about to be closed for good, Shivani learns that Jahnvi broke up with Arjun and patched up with her college boyfriend, Aakash Sardana, during her college reunion. Shivani and her team missed out on investigating Jahnvi’s angle in this investigation process. She had used a fake alibi to make sure Arjun was released because she was sure it was Sooraj who was the culprit. After all, he was in dire need of the money. Sooraj’s demeanor made it easy for Shivani to conclude that it was he who was a criminal. Through a flashback, we learn that it was Arjun who killed Aakash because on the night he confronted the victim, the man admitted to having spiked Jahnvi’s drink during the reunion and then having raped and killed her. Aakash then used his 20 lakhs to bury the case, which again proves why this amount was missing from his home.
The distressing news pushes Arjun to kill the man immediately and get rid of all the fingerprints and footprints at the scene of the crime. Arjun’s motive stems from the fact that he loved Jahnvi, and Aakash robbed him of that love. Shivani cannot go back to reopening the case because she would have to admit that she planted an alibi that let a criminal go, and this would put her career in jeopardy.
‘Gumraah’ Ending Explained: Why Did Sooraj Save His Brother?
Sooraj and Arjun were never on good terms, but that did not stop Sooraj from trailing his brother. He was a witness to Arjun being taken into custody, which brought out his urge to protect his only sibling. He misled the investigation by making SI Shivani and the team think it was he who committed the murder, and the alibi helped make the case unsolvable.
Sooraj did this because, even though he was jealous of Arjun being his mother and father’s favorite, his mother made Sooraj promise to protect his sibling. To keep the memory of his mother alive, he made sure Arjun was never sent to jail. The saying “blood is thicker than water” comes into play here because, for many years, the two never stayed in touch, but in this time of adversity, Sooraj came forward to help his brother.
Gumraah ends with Arjun passing on his home to Sooraj because after everything he has been through he does not intend to live in the city. Arjun wants to move on, and it would be only possible if he shifts away from his current residence, or else he would be haunted by memories of his now-deceased fiancée. Sooraj accepts it as a mark of respect for his brother as they wouldn’t be meeting ever again.
There are good films, and then there are abysmal films. Gumraah, directed by Vardhan Ketkar, comes in the latter category and is probably one of the worst recent crime thrillers because, as a viewer, we were able to point out many loopholes in the screenplay, primarily in the investigation they conducted. My time is too precious to waste on pointing out those loopholes. The direction was tacky, the screenplay was erratic, and for no reason, there was a caste angle. Writers and directors cannot blatantly insert a mental health narrative just because talking about it is an ‘in’ thing. This film, Gumraah, just like the title suggests, was never on the correct path from the beginning. We cannot recommend this film.
Gumraah is now streaming on Netflix with subtitles.