Gripping narrative, thrilling plot shifts and ensemble cast make ZEE5’s Mafia the perfect thriller series
Cast: Namit Das , Tanmay Dhanania, Ishaa M Saha, Anindita Bose, Aditya Bakshi, Madhurima Roy , Ridhima Ghosh
Director: Birsa Dasgupta
Produced: Eskay Movies
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Six college buddies are coming together after a five-year hiatus of going their separate ways for a much-awaited reunion to celebrate a wedding. But who knew that the thrill and excitement of meeting each other after all these years will turn into a game of whodunnit as the events unfold and wreckage from the past comes back to haunt them. Will they be able to find who the real ‘mafia’ is before they all perish?
The latest offering by ZEE5 turns the popular millennial game, Mafia, on its head. In the series, Mafia , the saga begins as the super six get an invitation to a grand bachelor party being thrown by Tanya (played by Madhurima Roy), who is tying the knot with her boyfriend Kunal (Sayan Banerjee). The venue is an old guest house in the dark jungles of Madhupur in Jharkhand, which used to be their ‘den’ in the yesteryears.
Memories bright and dark come back to besiege them as the pack prepares for the grand getaway. And slowly, we get entwined into the lives of the friends – Rishi, Ritwik, Ananya, Sam and Neha – as skeletons from the past come tumbling out of the closets giving us a peek into their lives and dark sides revealing their own reasons for not wanting to return to Madhupur.
With a deep realization that things are not the same amidst them, the buddies decide to play a game of ‘Mafia’ once they reunite to rekindle their friendship. But, the game ends up bringing back chilling memories from five years ago, when it had ended in the disappearance of the household help at the bungalow, Bidhua (played by actor Ankita Chakraborty).
The opening scenes set the premise quite well leaving us unsure of the real motivations of the main characters. As the story progresses, the viewers are offered clues to bring them closer to the end of the game. The plot is gripping to say the least, keeping you at the edge of your seat through the entire length of the show. The characters reveal their dark sides and hidden agendas, and as they do that, the viewers delve deep into the decay of bright minds. Stories of trauma and sexual violence come out in the open.
Director Birsa Dasgupta builds up the narrative and characters well, not relying on cheap gimmicks to create intrigue and drama. The perfect casting of lead characters makes them relatable and you almost feel like you are a part of all the drama, feeling the suspense and pain of the characters. There are many layers to the plot, which have effectively been used to probe the complexity of human characters and at the same time also their vulnerability and emotional side. The background score does a good job of making the viewers feel unsettled and creates an atmosphere of fear and intrigue.
This tale of hate and betrayal also showcases the societal gap between the haves and the have nots, who often bear the brunt of the foolhardiness of the moneyed class. Bidhua, a dusky woman from tribal region in Jharkhand, is raped and murdered; a secret kept tightly guarded by the college buddies. They were clueless that her daughter, Kamli, witnessed the events of the ghastly night and vowed to avenge her mother’s death. On the other end of the social spectrum stands Tanya, a girl with ‘privileged’ background, who gets an opportunity to study overseas where she finds her partner, Kunal.
A solid ensemble cast uplifts the storyline. Namit Das of Wake Up Sid fame has come up with yet another convincing performance as he gets into the skin of Nitin, a Dalit who enters the police force and fights against the injustice meted out to his community. Actor Anindita Bose adds another feather to her hat after Bhooter Bhabishyat as she essays the role of girl next door, Neha. Performances by Madhurima Roy (as Tanya), Tanmay Dhanania (as Rishi) and Ishaa M Saha (as Ananya) are also noteworthy.
Save the date as Mafia premieres exclusively on ZEE5 on July 10. The eight-episode web series promises to intrigue, thrill and entertain and is being released in Hindi, Bangla, Tamil and Telugu. It is sure to take your breath away!