The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth Review: Very Watchable!

If Indrani Mukerjea wanted to whitewash her image, this docu series was not the right platform, asserts Deepa Gahlot.


The Sheena Bora murder case had all the ingredients that makes the media salivate and the viewer watch as shocking details unfold.

It was no garden variety murder — she was the daughter of one half of Mumbai’s power couple, and watching the rich and famous squirm makes for great tabloid-y crime reporting.

That’s why calling a true crime docu series The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth is an exaggeration because there are no great revelations here. It was all covered by the media in minute detail.

The line-up of journalists, who had the front row seats as the tragedy unfolded, are interviewed in the series, along with cops, lawyers and, of course, the lead ‘actor’ of the drama, Indrani Mukerjea herself.

When Sheena Bora disappeared in 2012, and three years later, the remains of a charred body, allegedly hers, was unearthed from a Raigad forest, the first lurid nugget of information that came up was that she was not Indrani’s sister as she had always claimed but her daughter. She also had a son, Mikhail, whose bitter damnation of his mother is a part of the four-part series.

Her second husband Sanjeev Khanna was named co-accused along with the driver Shyamvar Rai, who blew the whistle on his employer.

When Indrani and later, her husband Peter Mukerjea, were arrested, it was a full-on media circus, mainly because they were rich, famous and powerful.

The high society of Mumbai had always been faintly contemptuous of Indrani, who had come from nowhere and claimed the spotlight. There was also unconcealed envy for the same reason.

So when the Mukerjeas fell from the heights of their well-appointed South Mumbai apartment, there was undeniably an element of schadenfreude.

The series lays out the points of view of various people but the ones who get the most screen time are Indrani’s daughter Vidhie, who was adopted by Peter, and the abandoned son Mikhail.

Whether Indrani killed her daughter or not — the case is still in court — she was already being judged for being the bad mother, who left her kids behind to chase after wealth, which also meant men, because for a woman with no great qualifications, her stepping stones had to be men.

She claimed her father had raped her and Sheena was a result of incest, and still dumped the kids in that house.

Mikhail claims that Indrani first had him committed to a mental asylum where he was tortured, and then tried to kill him too.

He and Sheena were a part of her sordid past she no longer wanted in her glittering present.

Then Sheena and Rahul, Peter Mukerjea’s son from an earlier marriage, fell in love and decided to wed. This was opposed by both Indrani and Peter.

Except for Vidhie, no other member of the Mukerjea family agreed to be interviewed for the series. So the story is sought to be steered by Indrani and her lawyers, but if she meant to whitewash her image, this show was not the right platform.

She spent over six years in prison, and her photographs looking wan and exhausted kept surfacing, though there was very little sympathy for her. Even her lawyer, Ranjeet Sangle, expresses bafflement at the ‘unique’ family, where every individual has an agenda.

The show, directed by Uraaz Bahl and Shaana Levy, juxtaposes the interviews with staged enactments in which actors playing Sheena, Rahul and Peter are used, with faces hidden, accompanied by frenetic music.

But there are voice recordings of calls between Rahul and Peter, where the former’s anguish is clear. Except him, and to some extent, Mikhail, nobody else seems to be affected by Sheena’s disappearance and no attempts are made to find her.

There are allegations of a high-level cover up, but obviously no proof of it.

Ghoulish details are discussed and enacted. Like, how Sheena was drugged and strangled, then her corpse made up and left seated in the backseat of the car, before being taken to the forest — that had been recced before under the pretext of looking for property — and buried.

In the show, Indrani claims Sheena is alive, protests her innocence and wants justice for herself, not for the missing or dead daughter.

There are conflicting accounts and speculation about what might have happened and why, but no credible reason for why this show was produced and released (after some controversy) before the court can pass a verdict.

There are large doses of conspiracy, scandal and mystery to make a very watchable show but that would have remained later too.

Audiences who might expect to see a tired or defeated Indrani Mukerjea would be surprised to see a glamorous woman, who is able to look directly at the camera and tell her story that is obviously full of half-truths and outright fiction, and demands that she not be judged.

It takes immense ambition and twisted kind of courage to be Indrani Mukerjea and that comes across very strongly on screen.

The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth streams on Netflix.

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