‘Trial By Fire’ Episode 6: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Happened To Veer Singh?

The sixth episode in Netflix’s 2023 release, “Trial by Fire,” focuses on two stories like the previous episode as well, but this time, the Krishnamoorthys take a back seat as the story of one of the “villains” of the Uphaar cinema hall fire is presented with major details. We not only get to see how the trauma has affected them all these years but also the effect on the family of a middle-class government employee who was made to take the entire blame for the Uphaar fire. Crushed between the T.V. interviews of Neelam blaming everyone responsible for the accident and the higher-ups who make him the scapegoat, the “villain” has to make peace with the painful situations he has to face continuously. Here’s what happens to the scapegoat in the sixth episode.


Spoilers Ahead

Veer Singh: The ‘Villain’… Or Is He?

Eighteen years had passed since June 13, 1997, when the Uphaar cinema hall caught fire, but the ones responsible for the crime couldn’t care less. However, Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy have spent almost two decades of their lives trying to find justice in a place where justice is scarcely available for the have-nots. In a television interview with Siddharth, the journalist we had seen in Episode 1, Neelam vents about the frustrating condition of the Indian judicial system, where the primary accused Ansals never really paid the price for their crimes. Although Sushil Ansal was arrested in 2007, he was released soon afterward. She recounts the amount of power they wield that allows them to escape the law and keep using several legal loopholes to avoid legal issues. Siddharth recalls that a momentous decision by the court in 2011 resulted in a lot of financial losses for the Ansals, but Neelam quickly says that he doesn’t feel a shred of pity for the men who killed her children. Shekhar adds that he doesn’t want anyone else to undergo the same trauma that they did. This interview is being viewed by a man when a younger woman questions why he keeps watching these interviews as another woman, possibly his wife, sits next to him with a concerned look. This is the story of Veer Singh, the last government-employed electrician who had checked the transformer in Uphaar cinema hall before it caught fire, and how the criminals used him as the scapegoat for all the crimes they committed.


Most of the story in this episode is in flashbacks as it presents the life of Veer Singh and how his being jailed impacted his family. A day has passed since the Uphaar fire, and Singh, who has been newly promoted to the foreman position, is getting ready to leave for work. His humble home doesn’t dampen his family’s spirits because his daughter is getting married soon. The news talks about the Uphaar fire as his daughter points out that it’s the same place her father had gone for repair work. In Episode 3, in a string of arrests, one of the people sent to jail was Veer Singh, and now we get a peek into his situation. As he’s taken away, he leaves his wife, son, and daughter with the responsibilities of the house. Mrs. Singh questions Veer’s boss as to what they are doing to get him out, and her son steps in to say that without their father, they aren’t doing well financially. The superior blames Neelam for all the woes which impact the family. We can guess that it was after this that he went to court and verbally abused Neelam in Episode 5.

Through scenes that merge into one another, the lives of the Singhs are presented—the financial woes, the preparation for the wedding, Singh coming back from jail, and his daughter’s wedding. Singh begs his supervisor to prevent him from going to jail yet again; however, according to orders from the higher-ups, he’s made into the scapegoat of the entire fiasco. His superior reminds him that he had helped him financially and in getting his daughter married, which means he’s in debt to the ones who plan to use him. Singh takes the fall for the Uphaar fire and is sent to jail yet again. The next scene is of his whole family having a feast at his home when he walks to the kitchen and tells his wife that he doesn’t have the heart and that he needs to go to jail again. The next time Veer comes home, the excitement of the family is similar, but Veer seems a little less excited on his second return. The change of scene shows Veer from the opening episode, hinting that his entire middle age was spent in and out of prison.


The Ones We Know

The other side of the story is about Shekhar and Neelam’s lives and how these 18 years have changed them. They visit Madhav and Devaki, Shekhar’s elder brother and sister-in-law, and meet their two sons. These are the same boys who tried playing with Ujjwal’s video game in 1997 when Neelam screamed at them in Episode 1. The awkwardness in the air as they meet is palpable, and they go out to lunch, where they learn that one of the boys is getting married. The excited voices of Madhav and his family for the wedding plans start fading out for Shekhar and Neelam as they’re once again reminded that they, too, would be getting their kids married off had they not died inside Uphaar years ago. 

The court is about to give its final hearing, and Neelam and Amrita Singh, Mahesh Karve’s assistants, are about to reach the court when they learn that there’s a surprise witness for the defense. Shekhar has gone to the registrar’s office to get forms, and right outside the gate, he’s being shouted at by some cart pushers. He enters to see an enormous line and has no choice but to wait. Hours have passed when two men arrive and cut through the line to reach the desk. After years of being passive and choosing to be non-violent, he finally erupts—he grabs the elder of the two and demands that he go to the back of the line. Insulted, the man uses explicit language at Shekhar, who stares for a second before slapping him across the face. Next thing we know, Mr. Krishnamoorthy is surrounded by police, who tell him that he needs to come to the station with them. That night, despair hits Shekhar, who ponders what they might achieve even if they win. He realizes that he, too, is part of the same corruption they’re fighting because, that day, he bribed the police officers so that he didn’t have to be dragged to the police station. The next morning, on their way to the court, they meet Neeraj Suri, the enforcer for the Ansals, who had threatened many A.V.U.T. members, but he seems changed. The once-scary man seems old and humble, and he narrates how his son was hit by a car on his way to work and how his wife blames it on Neeraj as a punishment for the sins of his life. Interestingly, years ago, when Suri expressed doubts about the line of work he was being dragged back into, it was his wife who forced him to keep doing whatever he needed to do to secure their future. He begs Neelam for her forgiveness, who calmly offers a few words of consolation and walks away. At the court, people are surprised to see Gopal and Sushil Ansal appear in the court as whispers fill the courtroom. Neelam and Shekhar look at the two men who led to the deaths of their children and 57 others.


‘Trial By Fire’ Episode 6: Ending

The penultimate episode of “Trial by Fire” presents the other side of the story. We get an inside look into the life of a man whose life was turned upside down because of the fire on the Uphaar, simply because of the circumstances and the string-pulling of the ones in power. While the Ansals didn’t see the inside of a prison for as much as a whole year, Veer Singh spent years going to Tihar jail and briefly returning home. The episode’s name is “Villains,” and it’s a study on the word because, from the Krishnamoorthys’ perspective, men like Veer Singh were negligent with their jobs, apart from the obviously guilty Ansals, but from the viewpoint of the Singhs, Neelam is the reason why the primary breadwinner of the family had to make trips to prison. It also presents Shekhar in a light we have never seen before: violence. He slaps a man for cutting in line, and this anger may be the release of the pent-up frustration from the years of despair and helplessness they have felt. While the man who was slapped was not deserving of anything less, the fact that Shekhar had to bribe the cops to be let out made him lose faith in the system further. The final episode of “Trial by Fire” will show the outcome of the case, and we’ll get to know if the A.V.U.T. members find justice or if the rich and powerful get to bend the laws according to their wishes yet again.

Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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