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Home > News > Opinion News > Article > So no one killed Sheena Bora too

So, no one killed Sheena Bora too?

Updated on: 06 March,2024 06:49 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mayank Shekhar |

Now that the Indrani Mukerjea story is back for a chatter-starter, imperative to weigh in, again, on the tragic murder case

So, no one killed Sheena Bora too?

A still from The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth

Mayank ShekharIf the protagonist in the 2023 Palme d’Or winning film, Anatomy of a Fall, didn’t murder her husband, then what’s the point of the picture, a friend asks. 

If you haven’t watched Justine Triet’s Oscar-nominated courtroom drama, it’s about a writer-couple, living with their visually impaired  son, in an isolated chalet, in the French Alps.

Husband dies, falling off a ledge. We don’t know if this is suicide, or murder. Wife is the only suspect. 

The way the plot is delivered from the film’s first shot onwards, with zero run-up, and a crucial sequence cut with merely sound for action, inside a courtroom—Anatomy of a Fall deserves the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

We don’t know, for sure, how the man died. Does it matter? No. It’s imagination. It would matter, 100 per cent—if it concerned truth, i.e. inevitably stranger than fiction. 

Such as the Netflix documentary series, The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth. Which should’ve been titled, The Sheena Bora Murder Story

The directors of the Netflix series Uraaz Bahl and Shaana Levy-Bahl
The directors of the Netflix series Uraaz Bahl and Shaana Levy-Bahl

Indrani is prime accused. Sheena, 25, is the girl who allegedly died—initially reported to be thrice-married Indrani’s sister, who turned out to be her daughter, from the first husband!

What was so fascinating in this tabloid story, about a girl gone missing, from Bandra, Bombay, since 2012? The case only surfaced in 2015—once a dead-body, most mysteriously got discovered in a dumping ground, two hours away from the city, three years hence! 

Have to admit, the salaciousness of it all emerges first from Indrani herself, evidently a social climber—with anonymous husbands, tucked away in Shillong, Calcutta. 

The latter, an accused in the Sheena murder case himself. Two children (Mekhael, included), she abandoned, in Guwahati for a decade and half. Essentially popping out babies, without accepting consequence.

Restarting her life in Bombay, thereafter, as a media baroness of sorts, since married to ex-Star TV boss, Peter Mukerjea, and raising a daughter (visibly disturbed, Vidhie) from her second husband, alongside. 

What’s it about Indrani that struck an uncomfortable chord with urban upper-classes? Can’t speak for all, but there’s an array of characters you encounter, particularly, in the outgoing social life of singles in big cities. 

You get acquainted to people, presuming a sense of trust—often knowing little about their past lives. This is how relationships of any sort start. As it did between Peter and Indrani while, I’m guessing, he couldn’t have full clue of who she really was?

Also, my enduring memory from the Indrani-Peter episode is socialite Suhel Seth’s The Telegraph column then—effectively about rich, frisky uncles, still the boys’ club, termed “wicked bachelors”, including Suhel, ravenously sussing out a rare, charming woman, as she walks into a bar with Alyque Padamsee, the old ad-man, subsequently abandoned for the evening! 

Suhel checks on Indrani a couple of days later. Peter tells him she’s hers. Suhel moves on! Can’t tell, who’s playing whom. 

But the Netflix doc-series, filmed by husband-wife directorial duo, Urvaaz Bahl and Shaana Levy-Bahl, rightly, isn’t as much about the social scene. 

Shot well—Bombay looks stunning—structured smartly, the series is about young Sheena, who disappeared, and then believed to be dead. 

Foremost, I’m relieved, this isn’t a Bollywood flick. As with the mini-biopic, Ladies First (2017), also on Netflix, that the Bahls directed, on ace-archer Deepika Kumari, as her sprightly self, leading up to 2016 Rio Olympics—instead of, say, Deepika Padukone, in the same role!

Sheena was evidently in love with Peter’s son, Rahul—the only piece in the psychotic jigsaw puzzle, who cares that Sheena isn’t around since April 24, 2012. 

The case against Indrani is she killed her daughter that night, with the help of her driver, and ex-husband. There’s allegation that Peter was possibly in the know. 

Wealth, getting passing on either as inheritance, or siphoned off from INX Media, the failed media-empire envisioned by Peter-Indrani, is also at the heart of the case. 

Of the four accused, only Indrani showed up for the series. Is she platformed lopsidedly, hence? I’d say, no. 

Let’s say, you assume so, basis the fact that Indrani’s claim of Sheena actually being the daughter from her late father—an unfounded allegation of incest-rape—gets dramatised in the series. 

Or that the driver’s involvement is debunked during a segment. The series is sufficiently two-sided still, for an ongoing case. 

Going by the misleading trailer, the CBI, prosecuting Indrani, watched a special preview, before they gave a go-ahead. No such brouhaha over Indrani’s own book, Unbroken (2023). I guess nobody reads in India. 

Which brings me to the original question: Did Indrani murder Sheena, who she still believes is alive—probably watching this series! 

I’d rely more on the visual sub-text—as the camera rolls in the Indrani Mukerjea Story, despite interruptions during interviews, capturing portions that are meant to be off-record. 

The Bahls tell me, “As filmmakers, the idea there is to gain insights on characters—we couldn’t have planned for unscripted moments.” 

It’s during these moments that you feel convinced, as an audience—yeah, man, it’s her. She’s not acquitted yet. Courts will decide. She could still get on Bigg Boss, though! Her ‘brother’, later son, Mekhael, I’m told, has already made it to the Bengali Bigg Boss.

Mayank Shekhar attempts to make sense of mass culture. He tweets @mayankw14
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