The Voot Select show London Files is set in the British capital, but it has characters and plotlines that are straight out of a potboiler simmering away somewhere in Mumbai.
London police officer Om Singh (Arjun Rampal) is hurting from a family tragedy involving his son. Om’s boss Ranjh (Sagar Aarya) asks the heavily medicated detective to investigate the disappearance of media baron Amar Roy’s daughter Maya. Amar (Purab Kohli) is an easy target: he is pushing hard for legislation that will crack down on immigrants.
Maya (Medha Rana) has been fuming at her father’s hard-line politics and hypocrisy. When Maya’s heavily battered body turns up, a kidnapping case turns into murder.
The evidence is stacked heavily against Amar, from allegations of sexual harassment to incriminating CCTV footage. It’s all too convenient for Om and the show’s makers. Writer Prateek Payodhi (A Simple Murder, Grahan) and director Sachin Pathak (Kathmandu Connection) even travel to London’s sewers in search of a conspiracy that links together events in the past and the present.
The slooow-burning series, filled with ponderous silences and meaningful looks, works hard to pump gravitas and relevance into a far-fetched premise. Sneha Khanwalkar’s ominous score puts in as much effort as a rumpled and nervy Rampal to justify a preposterous plot that imagines London on the brink of anarchist Armageddon. What should have been a fleet thriller moving rapidly from one twist to the next is instead shackled with Om’s grief, musings on parenthood and hand-wringing in behalf of undocumented migrants.