London Files is passable thriller

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Arjun Rampal plays Om in the thriller, London Files, on Voot Select. Photo: Avian WE 

A cop with a dark past—how often have we got to see stories with such a character in cinema and television? Now, the web also follows suit.

Om (Arjun Rampal) is a London cop who is much misunderstood. His son,Yash (Manvir Bawa) has turned a killer when in school, and is in jail, his wife, Ashwini (Sapna Pabbi) has left him as she thinks he is responsible for her son’s deviance, and his friend-cum-now senior colleague Ranjh (Sagar Arya) suspects his acumen as Om is also now under therapy.

On the professional front, Om is still considered among the best in the police force (Scotland Yard? Never mentioned) and is told to investigate the disappearance of Amar Roy (Purab Kohli)’s daughter, Maya (Medha Rana). In in the course of his findings, and the discovery of a dead body with a horribly mutilated head, he gets increasing evidence that Amar is his daughter’s murderer, though Amar declares that the body is not that of his daughter.

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Amar, incidentally, is a media baron, and is behind the Anti-Immigration Bill that was passed recently and has caused unrest and protest among immigrants and their dependents.

However, clinching DNA evidence supports Om’s theory and Amar is arrested. And that’s when, for certain reasons, Om begins to suspect something is direly wrong. He begins to investigate, and with him is his loyal deputy, Catherine (Eva-Jane Willis). An angry Ranjh forces him to quit the force, but Catherine still supports his “mission”. Om soon locates a cult headed by yet another Indian, Gopi (Gopal Datt), who brainwashes young immigrants into criminal acts to oppose the Bill.

What happens next? And what is the connection between Om’s son and this case?

A rather far-fetched, coincidence-driven narrative, London Files mixes the  reality of the fast-increasing Indian population of London with a story of a mysterious cult that deals with quotes and symbols and marks on the body. This kind of saga, with a Parliament Bill as the backdrop, mixes the mysterious and sinister “cult” conventions seen in assorted British fiction from Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie all the way to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

But there is a basic hitch: cults such as these are formed for specific reasons, after people have suffered for years, and are not generated by recent phenomenon like the Anti-Immigration Bill here!

The screenplay works for the first two episodes and midway through the third, and then begins to get implausible and ends on a note that may or may not suggest a sequel.

Technically decent, we have some fairly decent performances in the series. But we wish Arjun Rampal as Om did not look so haggard. He is skilled in parts but his husky modulation jars on many an occasion. Medha Rana is confident, and as her father, Purab Kohli is quite good. The supporting artistes fit the bill.

The writing and direction, however, never rises above the take-it-or-leave-it average, and in the final analysis, the result is just passable.

Rating: **1/2

Voot Select presents Jar Pictures’ London Files Produced by: Mohit Chhabra and Ajay Rai Directed by: Sachin Pathak  Written by: Prateek Payodhi & Gopal Datt Music: Sneha Khanwalkar  Starring: Arjun Rampal, Medha Rana, Sapna Pabbi, Purab Kohli, Gopal Datt, Eva-Jane Willis, Shanice Archer, Sagar Arya, Amritanshu Kumar, Adil Zubair, Manvir Bawa, Karis Pentecost & others

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