Directed by Mihir Desai, “Masoom” is an Indian crime thriller web series with the audience questioning every character’s motive. It is a story of a mother who died due to an accident. However, on a close investigation by her daughter, it does not seem the way it is. Her mother might have been murdered, and all the evidence points toward the family members involved. The series is very enticing and was released on Hotstar on June 17th, 2022. The psychological thriller explores every nook and cranny of the characters and gives a new perspective to Indian thrillers.
‘Masoom’ Season 1: Plotline
The story begins with Sana returning home after learning of her mother’s death. Sana arrives at her home to find everybody in mourning and senses something off. She meets her father Balraj, sister Sanjana, and brother Sanjeev and is immediately overwhelmed with sadness. After a while, Sana grows suspicious of her father’s actions while being kept under surveillance. Sana’s suspicions grow while she stays in her home, and she is confident that her father, Balraj, has killed her mother, Gunwant. She involves her childhood friend, Month, and both investigate the case, only to arrive at a dead end. However, in the end, the truth is disclosed only for new mysteries to appear.
Cause Behind Sana’s Mental Illness
Sana had always felt like an outsider in her own home due to being falsely accused of being a liar. At an early age, she had watched her father pummel Tidda, his best friend, which had ended in Tidda committing suicide. When Sana opened up to her family, she was accused of being a liar. She had to endure emotional abuse where her entire family concealed the truth and declared her a liar, which affected her mental health while growing up. Also, her uncle, Manraj, occasionally assaulted her mentally and sexually. After the incident with her father, Sana lost the zeal to confide in the adults as she was afraid she’d be accused of being a liar again. The entire family had only concealed the truth and were adamant of the situation being a lie so that it would not arise again. This incident marked the beginning of a change in Sana’s behavior. Being constantly lied to about the incident psychologically changed Sana and she became more distrustful and aggressive toward her family.
Studies show that when a child is constantly lied to, they become aggressive toward their family. When the child is accused of being a liar and is abused by the family unintentionally, the child rejects their interactions, becomes suspicious, grows introverted, and has to deal with a barrage of mental issues arising from the trauma. Similarly, it became toxic for Sana and was claustrophobic for her to reside at home, which resulted in her itching to leave and be far away from the family. She had a loving bond with her mother. However, her mother had refused to take a stand for her and had instead sided with her father to conceal the truth. She could not forgive the emotional abuse she faced and had stopped visiting, but the emotional bond stopped her from cutting off all contact. When Sana returned home, due to her mother’s death, her father’s actions had made her suspicious of him, and every cell in her brain singled him out as a murderer. She had the incident with Tidda to justify her suspicions, and Sana followed her father around to confirm her suspicions. The evidence that Sana found made her more confident that it was her father who had murdered her mother. She had developed a distrust quite early on due to Balraj calling her a liar to conceal the truth.
Sanjana and Sanjeev’s Mental Health.
Sanjana, Sana’s elder sister, had also concealed the truth about Tidda Uncle’s death. Sanjana played an active role in accusing Sana and still berated her for her excessive lying. As a child, she was extremely close to her father and feared the consequences that could occur to him if the truth was out. Out of the extreme loyalty a child can have, Sanjana had lied and also actively accused Sana so that the lie would become more convincing and Balraj could escape judgment. However, adult Sanjana still continued to do so, later out of loyalty and debt to her father for taking care of her and her son after her divorce. Her neurological illness had restricted her from acting out even when she wanted to. She depended on her father for living expenses and her son’s education. She was in a turmoil of utter distress when she found her mother dead, and the sudden burst of blindness had overwhelmed her. This developed an instinct of preservation in her that led her not to hold back when Sana was suspicious of her father’s actions. Through self-perseverance, Sanjana shut herself off from evidence pointing to her father’s guilt.
Sanjeev played a very passive role while lying to Sana. He did not actively take part in accusing Sana of being a liar but did not defend her and continued his silence throughout his adult life. Sanjeev was afraid of the negative consequences he might face if he accidentally took her side. He also constantly hides behind a mask due to his fear of being judged. He came out as gay. Although his family supported him, he still feared judgment from people. He has a very subservient personality and has a people-pleasing tendency. He refrains from taking action for fear of being judged, but the incident where his boyfriend ditched him with the money acted as an agent that made him regret not taking action even more. The situation with his boyfriend served as a catalyst, and he decided to take action in his life for the first time. It seems as if this shock and the shock from his mother’s death had shaken him to the core and changed his mindset. Although Sanjeev is still in the wrong for not standing up for Sana later, he still tries to ensure the truth comes out in front of her.
‘Masoom’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Was Gunwant Murdered?
Gunwant’s death had taken a toll on the entire family. She loved him, but her neurological issues left her incapable of leading an everyday life, so she accepted and encouraged Balraj’s decision to move on and have another person in her life. Her illness sometimes left her incapable of moving or even attempting necessities that people take for granted. She wanted to give up her life. While sending a picture to Sana, she fell and hit her head. Balraj tried to help her immediately because he could never imagine a life without her. However, she refused treatment, and pleaded with Balraj to end her life and let her go with her remaining dignity. She coaxed and pleaded with him until he gave in and had to end her life. Gunwant had opted for assisted suicide with the help of her beloved husband.
Balraj was very guilty of having to kill her but could not go against her wishes. He was also pressured by the psychological guilt of emotionally abusing his daughter by calling her a liar, which burdened him. The realization that his steps had effectively alienated his daughter from him had taken a significant toll on him. His daughter Sana was also suspicious of him and thought he was a murderer, and that she believed he could also kill her seemed to serve as the last straw. Sana did get to know why Tidda committed suicide eventually. He had snuck up on Gunwant and had tried to assault her, and she immediately made him leave her home. Gunwant had not said anything about the incident to Balraj. Still, Sanjana, who witnessed the situation, informed Balraj, and Balraj picked up Sana and hit Tidda for his crime. Tidda then realized his mistake and was humiliated. He then committed suicide to release himself from the guilt. Balraj did not want to sully his only friend’s memory and tried to conceal the truth; however, he ended up hurting Sana considerably. This incident led to Monty taking his life after learning about it later. Sana had lost her only friend, who seemed to be on her side. She could not trust her family and found solace in her best friend’s place. He took his life and left her all alone. Alone and broken, Sana finally decided to give her family another chance. Then Balraj patiently explained everything, happy to get his youngest daughter back. His guilt of betraying his daughter had left him over-compensating for everything. He took the blame for Manraj’s accident caused by Sana because Manraj was hit by Sana’s car when he had come out to kill her. Balraj understood the situation. In his way of concealing and making sure no blame fell on Sana, he made her more suspicious of him. His image had turned into a criminal in her mind. However, Monty’s death had opened a path of repentance that Balraj had wanted, and he seized the opportunity to get his daughter back.
Will There Be A Season 2 of ‘Masoom’?
The first season ended with a mysterious scenario where Sanjana was admitted to the hospital, and the police probed her case. Balraj rushes to the hospital to check on Sanjana but meets the police in charge, who informs him that his daughter will be tried in court for the murder of her husband. Sanjana’s husband had once lost his mind and hit her, after which they remained estranged, and Sanjana had gained custody of their son. However, her neurological issues seemed to increase similarly to Gunwant. Therefore, she was always afraid that if her husband got to know her, he might try to testify in court for custody of their son. She talked about this fear with Sana. The second season will focus on this issue and bring about the side of Sanjana that the first season could not explore. The cliffhanger with which the first season ended definitely points to another season.
“Masoom” is undoubtedly a good series in the making, with complex characters, psychological reasoning, and new perspectives on the LGBTQ community, which were unexplored by the Hindi industry before. It introduces a thrilling plot and also flows well with the characters, highlighting their issues and complexities that make them human. The season was well thought out. However, the problem lies with the portrayal. They introduced a lot of new angles and too many complex characters, which ultimately was too much for just six episodes. In the limited time frame, the series has introduced so many tips to the audience that they could not focus on just one scene. The series would have been better with fewer complexities so that they could explain the plot better. However, the series is a good mystery and thriller watch; although it discusses topics like mental health issues and assisted suicides as well as self- suicide, it is quite a lot to take in. Although the series could have avoided Monty’s death, it was used as a plot device for Sana to open up to her family.
“Masoom” is a 2022 Drama Thriller Series streaming on Disney+Hotstar.