Movie Review: ‘Murder Mubarak’

Murder Mubarak
: A Murder Mystery Exploring Class Divide

As soon as the weekend hits, you find yourself comfortable either on your couch or on your bed browsing through the OTTs to see if anything strikes your interest. Netflix over the past week has seen a bunch of releases and one such release that has found itself in talks ever since the day its trailer came out is Murder Mubarak. The source of this movie lies in the book by Anuja Chauhan named ‘Club You to Death’. Directed by Homi Adajania, the movie has some of the finest actors in its cast like Pankaj Tripathi, Vijay Varma, Karishma Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Tisca Chopra. But, whether the movie does complete justice to the whodunit genre is a question that doesn’t follow with a straight answer. So, let us dive into the discussion as the movie is further dissected to evaluate whether it’s worth your time or not.

Comfortable at an IMDb of 6.9/10, Murder Mubarak deals with the murder of a Zumba instructor and the investigation that follows. Set in the fictional ‘The Royal Club of Delhi’, every character in touch with the Zumba instructor has the motive to kill him and hence, makes the investigation stretched as the ACP puts equal emphasis on all the suspects. This ACP is not your usual serious police officer but is decently vibrant as the final moments of the climax reveal that he is not just solving the mystery of the murder but is also working the knots of a love story, which per him are two sides of the same coin.

Murder Mubarak comes entwined with warm lights, bright colours, tall chocolate fountains and oh so delicious macarons. However, when it comes to the treatment of space in the movie, it is incredibly sensitive and highly indicative of the class divide but more on that later. The affluent come drowned in their Louis Vuittons, luxury cars and lavish houses with more househelps in the frame than the members of the family. Naturally, the well-off spaces are adorned with warm lights, attractive greens and wide open spaces that are complementing the tasteful decor of the club while the space that is designated to the ACP and the Sub-Inspector for working their case is a dark, dingy room, one that is lined with spiderwebs and covered in dust. The furniture is run-off and barely usable at best. Even this allotment of a tiny space in such a huge club to the investigating officers is a marker that they are an outsider in the world of the rich, who do not belong there.

The movie does a better job at being a bitter commentary on the class divide prevalent at large than it does so in being a murder mystery. The riches are portrayed as no more than your typecast characters who hang on snobbery and munch on insensitivity. The satirical representation of the treatment of the upper classes towards the lower classes has landed brilliantly in the movie.

“Isko kaun maarega?”

“Poor people should die young.”

Pointing at the aged staff from the staff who supposedly has dementia, quips a rich female sitting at the table with her equally rich and insensitive friends who burst out laughing at the remarks. These two statements stand as exhibits and pretty much sums up the treatment that the staff of the club receives from its wealthy members.

To much surprise of the viewers, it appears that the character of Bambi played by Sara Ali Khan is placed as an apology for all the condescending folks in the movie. Bambi is the humanest of characters up until she isn’t (if I say anything more, it will be a spoiler so I will refrain from that). She is kind, doesn’t mistreat the staff, instead converses in an amicable tone with them and wells up with empathy for her househelp who was a victim of domestic abuse. Bambi takes care of Guppie (an old man with supposed dementia) like her very own and is a fluent critic of the rich lifestyle and their pretence culture. All heart eyes she is for a boy who despite being the member of the club is not on the same level of bank balance as the others and Bambi. She is all unicorn and candies until she isn’t and if you want to find out more, you’ll have to sit through this movie for over two hours.

The social commentary of Murder Mubarak is not just limited to the class differences but it takes a step further to call out the pretence of the so-called upper classes as well and how choosing the extremes are just a means for them if the upkeep of their status is at stake. This motif comes alive in the successful extortion by the Zumba instruction who milks every rich person based on that one secret of theirs that can nail their family reputation to bits.

The Raja Ji played by Sanjay Kapoor is handing out tips of Rs 20 bills to the staff as if he is doing a huge favour to them, is renting our different luxury cars for his trips to the Royal Club of Delhi and is hooking up behind closed doors with another male staff from the club. He is residing in a dilapidated Haweli and blaring about the royal lineage that he comes from. A different character named Yash is doused in drugs and is a stalker; Bambi is a kleptomaniac who comes from a dysfunctional family and chooses to marry for money and status, in the process gives up on the one guy she loved; Dimple Kapadia’s character is knee deep in perversion. And obviously, the affairs that go without mentioning.

Moving on to the murder mystery aspect of the movie, it is engaging and till the very last moment, one may not be able to pinpoint who actually is the murderer. But, the sheer quantity of the characters that are introduced in the movie make it difficult for the viewers to follow through. The narrative progression of the movie gets choppy too as there are overwhelming side stories that creep their way in. To top that, the constant engagement of Bambi and Lawyer Saheb (played by Vijay Varma) with the ACP and SI over the course of the investigation doesn’t fit well as it is lined by too much convenience in terms of getting leads on the case, unhindered access to CCTV rooms etc.

Speaking in terms of acting, Tisca Chopra truly shines and surprisingly, a decent performance is witnessed from Sanjay Kapoor as well. The OGs in the likes of Pankaj Tripathi and Vijay Varma have delivered much like always. Sara Ali Khan, on the contrary, does a decent job when the scene demands mainstream conversation but falls incredibly short of range when the trying scenes are in question. The truly defining scenes of the movie that carries the viewers, impacts them, is where you feel a certain disconnect from her as her acting falls short of all degrees of convincing.

Overall, if you are looking for a light watch that piques your interest from time to time and is not outright boring, Murder Mubarak might be your pick. Beyond that if you’re someone who has an eye for the visual appeal of the movie, the movie rightfully delivers on that front.

FF Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

By Deepali Verma