Director: Raaghav Dar, Francis Longhurst | Cast: Ravindra Angre, Puja Changoiwala, Pradeep Sharma, ea | Time to play: 87 minutes | Year: 2023
Mumbai Maffia: Police vs. the Underworld It is a battle between calm and gruesome violence. Several (ex)policemen, journalists and ex-gangsters tell how the Mumbai police terrorized the city’s mafia and broke their power by killing over a thousand gangsters. In between interviews, gruesome images of people being killed, bombings and shootings fill the screen. The calmer, more supportive atmospheric footage and acted-out scenes in between are nice to catch your breath a bit, but they make the documentary feel much longer than the hour and a half it actually runs.
Mumbai Maffia: Police vs. the Underworld it begins quietly: someone is driving through the wet streets of dark Bombay. It narrates the violence of the underworld in the 90s. What is said is not pleasant, but the images are reassuring. After about ten seconds, the calm atmosphere is interrupted by a quick succession of violent gunfire, including close-ups of gunned down men and crowds surrounding street fires. We then go back to the atmospheric footage, only to see the source of the voice afterwards. This mix of different types of images continues throughout the documentary and gives it a unique style.
The footage shot in the production of this documentary is mostly dark and calm and the emphasis is placed on the city of Mumbai or an action. If someone talks about a gun, he loads a gun on the screen. Slow motion is often used for this.
This technique, in which the footage is played back in slow motion, is often used in action movies during a tense fight scene, but here it is mainly used to enhance the calm atmosphere of the atmospheric footage between the “real” footage. Due to the slow motion, these scenes take a long time, which slows the documentary down.
This delay is annoying at first, but very welcome at the end. Because when we are still introduced to the world of violence, the slow shots in between are not necessary. But as the documentary progresses, the horror builds, making the slow atmospheric footage a welcome break.
The documentary deals with the mafia and the police, but also spends a lot of time with the media. The way the news is presented is sometimes as interesting as the news itself. For example, there are a lot of headlines and a journalist has a lot to say. There are Mumbai Maffia: Police vs. the Underworld Good critical questions are asked about the actions of the police, but the documentary is distinguished primarily by the questions that are asked about the actions of the media.
Mumbai Maffia: Police vs. the Underworld tells a strong story but lacks structure. As you watch, it’s unclear how long the documentary will be and where the story is going. This makes him restless and distracts him from the content. This is unfortunate because Mumbai Maffia: Police vs. the Underworld it is also interesting and entertaining.
Mumbai Maffia: Police vs. the Underworld can be seen in Netflix.