Trial By Fire
Episode 1 of Trial By Fire starts following the regular Sunday morning at the Krishnamoorthy house where 17-year-old Unnati, insists on going out to see her friend. Neelam, Unnati’s mother refuses to let Unnati go as the family was supposed to go see a movie later that evening. Unnati and Ujjawal, her little brother were going to see a movie with Arjun, Ujjwal’s friend and Arjun’s mother, Anisha.
The episode makes a jump cut to the night of the fire where Neelam and Shekhar are rushing to the Uphaar Cinema, looking for their children. There is chaos all around and firefighters are rescuing the people from the cinema hall. The parents split up, Neelam decides to go to the hospital where the victims are being taken, while Shekhar decides to stay back and look for Unnati and Ujjwal outside the cinema hall.
Neelam somehow makes it inside the hospital and starts running around, looking for her kids. Shekhar too is at a different hospital talking to the staff when the nurse leads him to Unnati’s corpse. Following the accident, the parents, especially Neelam are having a hard time showing any emotion following their children’s deaths.
Both Unnati and Ujjwal are cremated. Neelam meets Anisha and learns for the first time that Arjun and Anisha had both survived the fire. The Krishnamoorthy house is full of guests and relatives who were visiting the family for the funeral of their only two children when Neelam sees the news detailing this accidental fire.
Reporters claim that the fire broke out due to negligence on part of the cinema owners which in turn caused a stampede that led to the eventual death of 59 people. The kids are playing with the TV set and the news report is turned off causing Neelam to get infuriated and lash out at the children and her relatives.
She gets furious and ends up chopping off her hair in a haphazard manner. Shekhar is trying to process the information his relatives are giving him about the due paperwork but he can’t seem to focus. Later that night, Shekhar joins Neelam in a park outside their apartment where she asks him about Arjun surviving the fire. She wonders why it was only he who survived and neither of his kids.
Early the next morning, Neelam leaves to see Anisha at her place and demands to see Arjun to talk to him. Anisha does not allow that and states that her son was still recovering from the trauma of the accident. Neelam apologises for her behaviour and complains about how Unnati’s necklace was not found on her corpse. Shekhar wakes up to see that Neelam was not in the house and starts getting concerned.
Neelam is at the office of a journalist where she requests him to be allowed to see the complete footage of the night. Just then, Shekhar tries calling Neelam incessantly but she ignores her ringing phone to watch the video evidence to find her two children. At the Krishnamoorthy house, there is chaos among the family who is worried about Neelam’s uninformed disappearance.
She watches the video in its completion but is dejected when she does not find any evidence of Ujjwal and Unnati being taken out of the cinema hall and inside the hospital. At home, Shekhar eventually breakdown and asks his guests to leave as soon as Neelam returns. Meanwhile, Neelam asks to meet with the cinema hall manager.
As she is leaving to get there, Anisha calls Neelam asking her to come to see Arjun. Arjun is worried that Neelam is upset with him but the elders urge the boy to narrate the incident. Arjun claims that he was not even with Ujjwal and Unnati during the incident and that he was late to make it to the cinema hall in time.
He states that he could not get into the hall because the gates were locked from the outside. Neelam storms off to Anisha’s house in her car and Shekhar who was getting to Anisha’s house spots his wife driving away. Shekhar and his brother follow Neelam’s car and she has now arrived to meet the cinema hall manager – Mr Arora.
There is chaos when his wife does not let Neelam enter the house and threatens to call the cops on her. Shekhar finds Neelam outside the cinema hall manager’s house and she is heartbroken when she tells him that the kids suffocated to death because the cinema hall had been locked from the outside.
As the Krishnamoorthys leave, Mrs Arora claims that her husband only does what he is asked to do. Asking Neelam to be taken back home, Shekhar takes her car in order to visit the owners of Uphaar cinema – The Ansals. He breaks into the office despite being rejected by the receptionist.
The employees try to nab Shekhar and pin him down when he tries to meet Mr Ansal. He starts yelling that the doors were locked and breaks down, sobbing. Back at the Krishnamoorthy house, Shekhar is still crying and Neelam tries to console him.
The house is now empty and the couple tries to finally come to terms with the death of their children. Just then, there is an advertisement on the TV that shows a newly built shopping mall in Delhi, one that also has a cinema hall among other luxurious recreational activities.
The Episode Review
Oh, this episode was a little infuriating to watch. Knowing that this is based on a true story, I am glad that the makes chose to not let us see a lot of happy memories with the two kids and their families. With Neelam and Shekhar still alive, it would definitely be salt to their still-healing wounds to see two actors play their deceased kids.
It is appalling that Arjun’s mother claimed he was ‘dealing with the shock of the incident’ when he was not even inside in the first place.
This shows how she was somehow guilty about something. I wonder if there is a possibility that Arun’s family was informed about the fire. It seems like Arjun’s father is influential and it would not shock me if that were the reason behind his survival.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up Later This Month!|