It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it’s a perfect film noir opening. Our hero, Arjun Kadam, is injured and facing an armed gunman. It looks like the end. The street lights highlight the rain pouring down on Kadam and throw the scene into stark relief. Let us flashback to how Kadam found himself in this position.
Arjun Kadam is an ex-cop in Mumbai. He is down on his luck and feeling sorry for himself. One evening, a young flower-seller talks with him and makes him feel hopeful, if only for a minute. So when she is killed minutes later in front of him in a hit-and-run, he is determined to track down her killer. Let us flashback to how Kadam found himself in this position.
Arjun Kadam is a rising star in the police force. He has a beautiful wife and they are expecting their first child. He is working on the anti-mob task force under Vishnu Damle, supervised by Sunil Sawat. But then, everything goes downhill. Damle is permanently injured in a raid gone wrong, and complications develop with his wife’s pregnancy. He goes from having everything before him, to nothing.
The story moves back and forth from the present to the past, as we learn why Kadam has become so hopeless and just how corrupt the police force can be. We see how his wife and unborn baby died, wrenching his life apart. We see his guilt at his supervisor’s wheelchair-bound state. These drive him to hunt down the answer to the hit-and-run accident that killed the flower seller, which leads him deeper into the corruption of the police force.
The novel is mostly drawn by Vivek Shinde, with the interludes and side plots drawn by other artists. The art is lush and dark painting in a city that seems to be always night and always raining. Saurav Mohapatra has written a wonderful compact and compelling story with all the twists and turns you would expect from a true noir crime mystery.