The new SonyLIV show Kathmandu Connection takes the second half of its title seriously. Links are drawn between a kidnapping in Delhi, a custom official’s death in Allahabad and a casino in Nepal’s capital, from where blank calls are being made to a television reporter (Aksha Pardasany).

There’s a fourth, hidden strand interlocking events in the thriller, written by Siddharth Mishra and directed by Sachin Pathak. Once disbelief has been suspended and niggling questions have been swept aside – can a pair of off-duty Indian police officers really afford to take off to Nepal? – the twist-laden retro entertainer offers a welcome variation on the cops-gangsters formula.

Amit Sial is Samarth, a decorated Delhi Police officer with an estranged wife, a drinking problem and sharp investigative skills. Samarth joins the dots between seemingly disparate events. The trail leads Samarth and his reluctant assistant Shravan (Anuraag Arora) to Kathmandu.

There awaits the Dawood Ibrahim aide and politician Mirza Beg (Zakir Hussain) and his henchman Sunny (Anshumaan Pushkar). Sunny has outgrown his mentor, and is also keen on clearing his name of accusations that he was among those who was part of the plot that set off serial bomb blasts in Mumbai on March 12, 1993. Sunny proves to be a worthy opponent to Samarth, with an added complication greasing their encounters – both are in love with the television journalist Shivani.

The six-episode series, loosely inspired by real events, is set in the early 1990s. Period detailing includes an absence of cellphones – despite which information flows quite speedily – and Sneha Khanwalkar’s synth-heavy background score. The denouement, however, points to present-day concerns about overzealous policing.

Solid performances by the principal cast and unfussy direction keep the series ticking along. Amit Sial is in good form as the watchful police officer whose professional dedication comes at a heavy price. Sial is adequately backed up by Aksha Pardasany, Anuraag Arora and Anshumaan Pushkar. A gent wearing dark glasses indoors plays Dawood Ibrahim – an image without which no gangster saga from the 1990s seems complete.

Kathmandu Connection (2021).