The name Charlie Chopra sounds fun yet pretentious at the same time. We have a bad habit of judging books by their names and covers. The former had us scrunching our noses, but the latter, which is the star cast, had us intrigued. How wrong can one go with Neena Gupta, Naseeruddin Shah, and Ratna Pathak Shah, all bringing their best, as always, under one roof? This was enough to make us want to watch it, and it was time to test the soul of the series. Charlie Chopra is based on an Agatha Christie book called The Sittaford Mystery. We haven’t read the book, but we have read others by the author, and as expected, we found the trope of one man who has all the money, and when he dies, it becomes an investigation of who was the greediest, which will eventually lead to a completely unexpected murderer. Agatha Christie’s books have a pattern of a slow goose chase with a wild ending. Maybe that is why we felt as if the first episode offered us nothing. But the character of Charlie Chopra, played by Wamiqa Gabbi, has infused some humor into the story by breaking the fourth wall every time she slips into Punjabi. The treatment of this mystery might be a little different, so we have our hopes up. For now, this is how the first episode plays out.
Who Are The Suspects?
Episode 1 of Charlie Chopra starts with a family trying to summon Lady Rose. We have no idea who she is or what she wants, but very few people are taking it seriously as Mr. Rai tries to call for her through her picture while playing eerie music on his phone. He must have done something right because Wasima, who is a child, is possessed by Lady Rose and says that Brigadier Rawat is dead. Maybe the family made a mistake with their lack of faith because that turns out to be true. When nobody is able to contact him, Colonel Barua sets out to Manali on foot to check on him, and that is when they discover his body. Hanif, the cook, was waiting to be let in the house, and when the Brigadier just wouldn’t open the door, they had to break it down to discover the tragedy.
In another place, Charlie Chopra is angrily dancing since she is unable to contact her fiancé. But the rituals must go on, and the groom’s shoes are stolen as part of the festivities. It is tradition for the bride’s sisters and friends to steal the groom’s shoes, and he has to pay a hefty amount to get them back unless someone from his side can find them. Our Charlie Chopra steps in and finds them, all because the groom has stinky feet, and she probably has the nose of a bloodhound. On this note, we would like to say that we hate the opening song of Charlie Chopra, which details her address. Why on earth is it a part of her identity if her business is organic farming? We also don’t understand when she says that the tougher the case, the lesser the fees. Is it nobility or stupidity to think that satisfaction fills your stomach and soul instead of actual food and other necessities?
Either way, she finally gets a call back from her fiancé, and she comes to know that he is in jail and has been framed for the murder of Brigadier Rawat. She immediately goes to Solang to meet him, and he tells her what actually happened. He wanted to surprise her by buying a plot of land for her organic farming, and that is why he had asked his uncle Rawat for a loan. Nobody knew that he was in the area because of the surprise. But Rawat refused to give him the loan because he was disappointed. It looks like Jimmy’s entire family sucked up to the Brigadier for his wealth, but he thought Jimmy was different. Upon finding that it wasn’t the case, he showed him the door. Jimmy comes back to take the hotel keys that he had forgotten, but when the Brigadier doesn’t open the door, he leaves in anger. The evidence that the police have against Jimmy is the set of keys and the murder weapon, which is a bottle of honey that he had taken as a gift for him. Charlie feels that there is something off about the whole thing, but she still doesn’t know where to start.
When she goes to meet the family that day, she comes to know why this might be a madhouse. Jimmy’s brother, Billu, is not doing well himself, and he believes that Jimmy met Mr. Rawat with ill intentions. His sister Saloni flies into a rage upon the insinuation that she is waiting for the money from Brigadier Rawat’s will. Saloni’s husband is a successful author, and they make a lot of money. But to be honest, we wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that this success is a farce and they are deep in debt, probably just like Billu himself. Looking at the tempers around her, Charlie asks to stay in a hotel. It would have been an unremarkable scene except that Charlie comes to know that when the fireplace is running, one shouldn’t close the windows. We bet this would be important evidence for her moving forward.
Why Can’t The Family Get Brigadier Rawat’s Money?
When Charlie wakes up the next morning, she finds that a video of her is doing the rounds on new channels, painting her as a distraught partner of Jimmy. The man, Sitaram Bisht, who had pretended to rescue her from the reporters outside the police station, had recorded her on the sly for his own channel. Charlie is furious at this, but for now, she goes to Jimmy’s family house for the reading of Brigadier Rawat’s will. The will says that everyone would get an equal share of his property, and his cook, Hanif, was to get a yearly allowance. His ski resort in Solang was to be managed by Colonel Barua without being sold. These were the Colonel’s last wishes, and they were satisfactory enough for the family, but just then, at the end of episode 1 of Charlie Chopra, something changed the entire course of events. Rawat had a fiancé, Nicole Morris, and she entered the scene with her lawyer, Gangaram, and a stay on the will. She was pregnant, and once the DNA test proved that this was Rawat’s child, the property would go to her. Nicole also believed that the family must have had a hand in Rawat’s death, considering the suspicion on Jimmy and the combined motive of everyone. Charlie has been a passive spectator until now, but she will have to start investigating if she wants to see her fiancé out of jail, and if this proves to be a tough case, then the lack of dollar bills as well.
We stand by our assessment that the first episode did not give us much. We are also not fans of the lack of brightness in the episode. The darkness doesn’t add to the atmosphere; it just makes it annoying when there is a lack of visibility. Regardless, we have certain expectations from this series, and for now, we also want to understand more of Charlie Chopra’s character, her abilities as a detective, and her relationship with Jimmy and his family. That will enrich the series a lot.