Touted as one of the first of its kind from the Malayalam movie industry, Kerala Crime Files started streaming on Disney+Hotstar from June 23rd, 2023, a much anticipated release of this year.The limited series which is directed by Ahammed Khabeer, known for his films ‘Madhuram’ and ‘June’. The series stars Aju Varghese as Sub Inspector Manoj and actor Lal as Circle Inspector Kurian Avaran in the lead roles and is a 6 episode police procedural drama investigating the death of a sex worker in Kochi.
The series starts on a good note- with the discovery of the murder of Swapna a sex worker in one of the lodges (the director without words managed to portray the seedy lodge just as it is, one of many in the underbellies of the metro city where anonymity and poverty and the transiency of the lodgers were well captured). The police appear on the scene expecting a quick open and close case when they’re confronted by a fake name Shiju and a fake address Parayil Veedu, Neendakara and soon the chase begins trying to identify a man with a fake identity who has been seen by just one man.
I think the real beauty of Kerala Crime Files was how the creators tried to keep it grounded and the understatement of certain realities. It is stated as a hard reality in the series how the death of a prostitute wasn’t going to make any waves in the system or how it was accepted that even if unsolved or stored as a cold case that there would be no consequence, something the filmmaker underscored when the investigators request for certain help in tracing the suspects phone number and was faced with delays. The series shows how it was just the determination of a few cops and their struggles to balance their personal lives with the unconventional work hours and the baggage that comes with the job that often gets carried into their private lives.
Kerala Crime Files rarely shied from portraying the darker aspects of life but the series doesn’t rely on any cheap thrills or gimmicks ,rather it is not afraid to let the story unfold at it own pace, making the viewer invested in the investigation , the series rely strongly on the performance of its main characters who were able to do justice to their roles .
This series is a definite recommendation for anyone who loves the genre.