Netflix has debuted the trailer for Trial by Fire, an upcoming miniseries that traces a couple’s fight for justice against massive corruption, in the aftermath of the Uphaar Cinema tragedy in 1997. 59 lives were lost and over 100 individuals were injured after a fire broke out in a prominent movie theater in India’s capital city, New Delhi.
Trial by Fire is based on a book written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the fire. The one-time poster boy for offbeat Bollywood cinema, Abhay Deol, plays Shekhar, while Sacred Games alum Rajshri Deshpande plays Neelam. The Krishnamoorthys discover that the tragedy could have been averted had certain systemic faults not been enforced at the theater. They find that the suspected culprits — the influential industrialists Sunil and Gopal Ansal — had paid off cops and other authorities to evade charges, as they sought to broaden the scope of their business at a time of great economic prosperity in India.
With little support, the Krishnamoorthys put together a group that consists of the relatives of other victims, and take the fight right to the top. Along the way, the face intimidation and setbacks, but as Neelam says in the trailer, they fight because parents never turn their back on their children, especially when they’re not around.
The trailer presents the tragedy in gritty realism, but doesn’t ignore the sentimentality at the core of this story. “They think they can push us around, and there’s nothing we can do about it; that we’re too small to matter. But little do they know, that when we come together, we give each other strength,” Shekhar says, over shots of arrests being made, and candlelight marches being organized in the memory of those who died.
With shades of both HBO’s Chernobyl and Netflix’s own Delhi Crime, Trial by Fire looks like a sensitive series about a tragedy whose effects can still be felt. The Uphaar Cinema lies largely untouched in the heart of the city, frozen in time to this day.
Directed by Prashant Nair and Randeep Jha — Nair also serves as show-runner and co-writer alongside Kevin Luperchio — the series also stars Rajesh Tailang, Ashish Vidyarthi, Anupam Kher, Ratna Pathak, Shilpa Shukla and Shardul Bharadwaj. Trial by Fire will land on Netflix on January 13. You can watch the trailer here, and read the show’s synopsis down below.
59 lives lost, over 100 injured and a 25-year-long battle. The fire that took over the Uphaar Cinema in 1997, is still clear as day in the minds of many. Tracing the story of Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, the series portrays the grueling legal battle and the unbelievably trying journey that ensues when two parents lose their children.