When it came to solving the murder of Paul Dhillon and the disappearance of his friend, Liam, in Kohrra, nothing was as simple as finding out what went wrong that particular night. Each and every event had been influenced by something that had been happening for years and had resulted in characters taking specific steps to fight it. The most surprising fact about the whole affair was that the actions guided by deliberate malice were never meant to kill but to grievously injure at best. Therefore, let us take a look at what made things turn out the way they did.
Steve Dhillon lived abroad with his family, and though he had gone there for work and better opportunities, he was a staunch patriarch who couldn’t accept that his son would stray from Indian culture. When Paul cut his hair, Steve beat him black and blue. Clara had begged Steve to stop and understand things from his son’s perspective, who was simply trying to fit in with his surroundings. Paul was barely a teenager at that time, so it is possible that he may have been bullied by his peers or that he simply wanted to look more like them, which made him take the step. Without commenting on the action itself, the motivation was a natural thing about teenagers. If Steve had only cared to talk to his son and tried to help him navigate his way through his feelings, things might have turned out differently. But his violent outburst ensured that the door of communication was permanently shut between the father and the son.
Paul could never confide in him about his real identity. Additionally, we don’t doubt that Steve ruled his house with an iron fist, which means that Paul was never able to leave his father’s house to live independently. Therefore, Liam, and by extension, Clara, had to work their way around these difficult situations to be in Paul’s life. We say this to point out the effort of the mother and the son, for the sake of the latter’s love, that they put in for many years until the day came when Paul had to get married. Knowing the arranged marriage system, as we heard from Paul’s fiance, they had only been talking for a month or two and were about to get married, probably a week after their engagement. We bet Paul told Liam that this marriage would mean nothing and that they could continue their relationship as usual. That would explain why Liam came to India to watch his own boyfriend’s straight wedding and also traveled extensively with him before that. He was not expecting anything to change.
As for Veera, she had been in love with Saakar before she met Paul. Veera tells Saakar at the end of Kohrra that she had not been forced by her parents to break up with him but had done it of her own accord. The matter is certainly more complicated than that. Saakar was a struggling musician who did not have a steady source of income yet. Veera’s job and education prospects had always aligned with her marrying an NRI in the future and leading a comfortable life. She was not ready to give it all up for love. There was no question of the fact that her parents would never have agreed for her to marry Saakar, and that is why she didn’t tell them about him because she herself didn’t see a future with him. She was honest about wanting to start a life with Paul, and she tried to settle her feelings in the best way that she could. That is why a furious Saakar confronted Paul and Liam at the restaurant and got into a tussle with them. We doubt he actually wanted to kill or harm them and was simply acting out of an overflow of emotions. But Liam picked up the blade left behind by Saakar. Maybe it was an impulse, or maybe he thought they would need to be prepared for more of these scenes.
Then came the third piece of the puzzle, that of generational jealousy and an inferiority complex that finally acted up. Steve’s brother, Manna, had always been jealous of his brother while aspiring to be like him. This means that toxic masculinity and bad parenting were very acceptable for him as long as they helped him be like Steve. We are assuming that this means “strong and capable,” something that Manna also applied to his son, Happy. He always compared Happy to Paul, not knowing that Paul was fighting silent battles of his own with his father. As it happens, when you beratingly compare two people long enough, one of them starts hating every action and aspect of the other, whether or not they mean any harm or not.
The one way that Happy knew he could win his father’s approval was by sorting out the land dispute between Steve and Manna. Steve had been completely absent for his sister’s treatment, and Manna had taken care of it by himself. Therefore, when Charuno passed away, he felt that he deserved her share of the land, not only because of his caregiving but also because he hated how indifferent Steve had been when he was actually the one the siblings had looked up to. Happy came up with the idea that if he killed Paul, Steve would go back abroad and forget all about the land dispute. He orchestrated an accident for this very purpose, but Paul was able to save himself at that very moment, and his efforts were futile. But that didn’t stop the driver from demanding money from Happy, which he had to shell out, and his father came to know about it, revealing all the pieces of the puzzle. Happy’s plan did not kill Paul, but it was one of the steps in the disaster that night.
These were the factors that laid out what would happen to Paul and Liam. That night, Veera went to meet Saakar one last time, and then an angry Saakar met up with Paul and Liam at the restaurant, where Liam took his blade from him. Paul met Veera later, and she told him the truth about Saakar and made it clear to him that she only wanted to be with Paul going forward. This resolution of hers finally made Paul realize what he was about to do. He and Liam probably went out to make their breakup official, and Paul must have thought that taking some product would make the process easier. That is when they met Kulli, but since they did not like what he offered, they wanted to leave. But Kulli wanted money for his efforts, and he chased after them. In the time it took for him to catch up with the two, Paul told Liam that he needed to end their relationship so that he could do right by Veera.
A disheartened Liam tried to walk away, and when Paul tried to stop him, he slashed his neck. We cannot be sure if Liam intended that or if it was an act of passion, but this was the result of a long-held lovers’ quarrel. After all the sacrifices and adjustments that Liam and his mother had made for Paul over the years, he was being dumped for Steve’s approval of his son. As Paul lay there bleeding, Liam walked out on the street in a daze, and he was hit by a truck that killed him. Not wanting to be involved in a hit-and-run, especially when a white person was involved, the driver disposed of Liam’s body by himself.
Later, when Kulli found a bleeding Paul, he could have helped him if his mind wasn’t so drug-addled. Instead, he tried to steal from him, and when he found that Paul was still alive, he smashed his head with a rock in a moment of pure panic. Ultimately, what ended up killing Paul and Liam was patriarchy, homophobia, an inferiority complex, and a broken heart, all of which crossed paths with a hit-and-run and a state’s drug problem. Finally, what had killed Paul and Liam were not people as much as institutional flaws, and a dissection of them was the story of Kohrra.