Sara Ali Khan and Vijay Varma in 'Murder Mubarak' out on Netflix now
Sara Ali Khan and Vijay Varma in 'Murder Mubarak' out on Netflix now Image Credit: Netflix

You expect a whodunit to be nippy and fast-paced, but ‘Murder Mubarak,’ culled from the book, ‘Club You To Death,’ doesn’t fall into that category.

This murder mystery is meditative, meandering, and maintains a languid pace, akin to a podcast series, which may not always work in its favour. It almost lulls you into sleep.

Actor Pankaj Tripathi portrays the seemingly benign police officer, ACP Bhavani Singh, called to investigate a series of sudden deaths in an elite Delhi club’s gym.

The motley group of well-heeled guests and members of this exclusive ‘Delhi Royal Club,’ played by Sara Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sanjay Kapoor, and Karisma Kapoor, naturally become suspects in this murder investigation. Like most wealthy people stereotype, they are posh, pretentious, cranky, and not overly likeable. This bunch is no different, but whether their insolence is their only crime or if they have blood on their hands is the big question. The movie opens with the upper-crust circle being introduced to us with catty middle names.

Panjaj Tripathi and Karisma Kapoor in 'Murder Mubarak', out on Netflix now Image Credit: Netflix

Karisma Kapoor, who plays a fading actress, is Shehnaaz ‘diva’ Noorani and exudes the old-world glamorous vibe, while Vijay Varma is the ‘bechara’ Aakash Dogra, because of his seemingly sweet nature. Actor Aashim Gulati, who plays the smarmy and hunky trainer, is thrust with a middle-name that isn’t wholly flattering, while the pretty and clumsy Bambi, played by Sara Ali Khan, is identified as Bambi ‘Widow’ Todi.

We see her first when she stumbles into the club’s Diwali Tambola bash inebriated and lands loudly on her face. As expected, her inglorious entrance is met with sneers and raised eyebrows. Every member of this club seems to be hiding behind a web of secrets, deception, and overall cattiness. And did I tell you, the resident cat is called Prince Harry.

The tone is kept deliberately silly and farcical, even though there’s a slew of grisly murders to be solved. In the beginning, the pace might put you off but the whacky characters, though at times stagey, grow on you. Sanjay Kapoor as the boastful royal, who gives the measliest of tips to the waiters, is genuinely funny, while Tisca Chopra at a party talking about her son’s latest rehab stint — as some swanky resort serving all-day sushi — hits the right notes. Aakash and Bambi, important pieces to this puzzling murder mystery, also have an interesting dynamic. Varma, as the ever-dependable Aakash, enjoys the undeniable spark with his school crush Bambi. Their chemistry seems organic. They seem the most real in that murky pond of flamboyantly wealthy.

Image Credit: Netflix

Tripathi, as this sedate detective who believes that conversations can unlock the deepest mysteries in the world, sticks to that brief. It was supposed to be the movie’s strength, but falls prey to being hyper-verbalised. Every thought in his head and his observations are spoken out loud, robbing you of any mystery.

His interrogations form the spine of this murder mystery, but can get a tad tiring, despite his acting prowess. Many players such as Dimple Kapadia’s turn as the colourful and whacky rich old lady seem wasted in their roles. This is supposed to be a starry ensemble, but many talents like Kapadia have very little to do.

The cameos by famous people are meant to keep things interesting and piping hot, but the movie and the murder felt like it was going cold at various intervals. The twists and turns aren’t always intriguing and at times you are left wondering if this movie is going anywhere.

But the climax makes up for the lax pace. Sara Ali Khan may not shine bright when she’s sharing the screen with stellar talents like Varma and Tripathi, but she manages to hold her own for most parts of the film. Director Homi Adjania seems to have contained her tendency to go overboard with expressions and what you see is a relatively less zesty turn from Sara. Of all the warped players in this film, it’s Varma’s character that left a lasting impression. His vulnerability and his protectiveness towards his childhood crush is somehow endearing. This murder mystery is somewhat whimsical and flaky in its tone, but its snail pace is the true punishment. Sign up for this movie membership only if you have the patience to sit through the several layers of flaky to get to the meat.

Gulf News Rating:
Film: Murder Mubarak

Director: Homi Adjania

Cast: Sara Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Pankaj Tripathi, Tisca Chopra, Sanjay Kapoor, Aashim Gulati, and Vijay Varma

Streaming on: Netflix

Stars: 3 out of 5