Episode 2 of Trial By Fire takes a two-week leap after the fire where Shekhar and Neelam are talking to a lawyer, pleading with him to take on their case against Sushil and Gopal Ansal, the owners of the cinema hall. Krishnamoorthy’s claim that the fire was caused on purpose was the narrative that was going on in the press.
The lawyer tells them that there is no evidence proving the fact and that the Ansals were one of the most influential people in Delhi so no lawyer would fight against them. The parents walk out, and Shekhar claims that the least Ansals could do is apologise to the victims expressing their remorse over the deaths.
The episode then moves back to the night of the fire where multiple victims are identified by their family members. An old man identifies the bodies of 7 of his family members who all died in the fire. The man breaks down as the nurse collects his thumbprint.
Back to present day, Shekhar sets out to make a list of all the victims of the fire and tries to contact their families in order to form a union to fight the Ansals. Neelam is apprehensive about the idea and goes out to find her neighbour – Shalini. The two women bond over a cigarette and Shalini offers to give Neelam a haircut.
Shalini tells Neelam about how she lost both her parents about five years ago. They discuss how one deals with the loss of a loved one. Neelam is trying to investigate the accidental fire and learns that the transformer that caused the fire had caught on fire earlier in the same day. Neelam is shocked to learn that there had been more negligence on part of the cinema hall managers.
At the same time, Shekhar is getting in touch with the families of the victims who are mostly uninterested in taking part in the investigation. The episode moves back to the old man who is taking the corpses of his 7 family members to his small house.
The man is confused and helpless as the locals living around him help him carry his family inside the house for the final rites before their cremation. Neelam gets in touch with the cops and states that she wanted to file a complaint against the Ansals. There, she finds a wedding invitation card and takes it, hoping to find the Deputy Commissioner of Police at the event.
The old man is being helped by locals but in no way has the living conditions to finance the paperwork of all seven of his deceased family members. The man breaks down looking at a picture of his family while his friends try to make things work. Shekhar meets with Mrs Goswami, another one of the victim’s family members.
She had lost her elderly in-laws and handed Shekhar a business card of Mr Suri, a businessman based in Dubai who was providing the victims’ families with generous compensation. At the Krishnamoorthy house, Neelam is not able to get her mind to stop thinking about the accident.
Meanwhile, the old man is not able to generate enough funds for the funeral by any means. He is left helpless when his boss refuses to loan him 15,000 INR for the funeral. Just then, a man reaches out to help the old man. At the same time, Neelam seeks Shalini to accompany her to the wedding where she could find the Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Shekhar is trying to bond with another set of parents who lost their child to the fire. He suggests starting a union with them but the father of the deceased is not interested. His wife tells Shekhar that she will convince him to join the union and gives Shekhar their support.
The person who visited the old man is Mr Suri and has offered him some cash to help with the funeral. The old man refuses to take the help and Suri leaves his business card with his relatives. At the wedding, Neelam introduces herself as the mother of Ujjwal and Unnati.
She makes it awkward for Mr Naidu, the DCP and shares the news of her children’s death and mentions the Ansals. The mention of the Ansals makes Naidu conscious and he leaves the table. Neelam follows him along and creates a scene at the wedding leading to her being kicked out.
Shekhar is back at home and he talks to Neelam about how they had found the first member of their union in Mrs Goyal. They hope to reach out to the old man who lost 7 members of his family. Meanwhile, the old man gets monetary help from people around him who offer small sums of money to help with the funeral of his family members.
The man is a taxi driver and joins the Krishnamoorthys along with other family members of the victims as they form a new union called the A.V.U.T aka, The Associations of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy. The Krishnamoorthys introduce the people to the lawyer, Mr Tulsi who suggests filing a complaint against Ansals as their first step to fight the crime. Mr Suri is right by the Krishnamoorthy house where the A.V.U.T is having its first official meeting.
The Episode Review
This was really one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever watched in my life. Watching an old man, who is extremely poor go through the loss of all his family members is emotional enough on its own but to add to that, him being so poor that he could not even arrange their funeral was further infuriating.
The tragedy happened in 1997, 25 years ago, and now as the victims’ families are finally learning to live with the tragedy, I am happy that the old man had A.V.U.T in his final days.
The A.V.U.T. is finally forming and knowing the consequences of the trial as of 2021, I am sure this association will have some ups and downs before we finally get to see what happens to the people behind this tragedy.
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