‘Vadh’ Ending, Explained – Why Didn’t The Police Arrest Shambhunath Mishra For Murdering Prajapati Pandey?

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Written and directed by Rajeev Barnwal and Jaspal Singh Sandhu, “Vadh” follows an elderly couple, Shambhunath and Manju Mishra, who live in Gwalior. They have a son named Diwakar, who lives in the USA with his wife and child. Shambhunath spends his time tutoring the kids in his neighborhood, while Manju devotes her time to the Lord. And then, out of the blue, a snake-like individual known as Prajapati Pandey shows up at their house to bully the Mishras. That’s when we get to know that the Mishras don’t lead a very simple life. In fact, they owe a lot of money to this Prajapati, who is hellbent on making the Mishras pay, even though they are doing their best. It has an interesting premise and stars Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta as the leads. However, apart from being great in terms of production design, cinematography, and sound design, “Vadh” never really comes together as it takes all the cliche turns to reach its predictable end. So, let’s talk about it.

Major Spoilers Ahead


Was Diwakar The Reason Behind Shambhunath And Manju’s Daily Issues?

During the initial scenes between Shambhunath, Manju, and Diwakar, it becomes clear that the son shares an estranged relationship with his parents. The makers of “Vadh” purposefully want us to assume that the parents are at fault because they are conservative in nature and are barely making ends meet. Hence, they must be constantly asking Diwakar for money, and that’s why he’s always irritated with them. But after Prajapati drops by to harass them about the money, it prompts a flashback, and we find out that the Mishras are in this situation because of Diwakar. He apparently harbored plans to go to the USA. However, the money that Diwakar needed couldn’t be sanctioned via a loan. That didn’t stop him from forcing Shambhunath to become indebted to Prajapati. Once he settled down in the USA, he completely gave up on his parents, thereby leaving them to fend for themselves.

You won’t get any points for guessing that this is a grittier version of the film boomers love to bully their children with, i.e., “Baghban.” Barnwal and Sandhu make Shambhunath and Manju as three-dimensional as possible. Therefore, in comparison to them, Diwakar comes off as a one-note, irritating, and unempathetic manchild. Why? So, you can look at your small screens and lament about how kids never look after their parents when they grow old, even though the parents did everything to provide for their children. But it’s never questioned why these children became so asinine and unreasonable in the first place. Parenting must’ve played a huge part in it. That’s why someone like Diwakar continued to push for the move to the USA despite his parents’ awful financial situation. In addition to that, Diwakar’s characterization is deliberately annoying so that we can curse him when he doesn’t send money to his parents, even though they are in dire need of it.


Did The Killing Of Prajapati Pandey Solve Shambhunath And Manju’s Problems?

Shambhunath and Manju put up with Prajapati’s daily harassment. But then, a few things happen. Firstly, Inspector Shakti Singh asks Prajapati to increase his bribery rate. Secondly, Singh notices Prajapati bullying Shambhunath in public and warns him not to do that again and tells Shambhunath to alert him if Prajapati messes with him in the future. Thirdly, Prajapati’s employer, Dada, orders Prajapati to get Singh off his tail. Then, Prajapati decides to close Shambhunath’s chapter by forcing him to sell his house and settle his debt. However, Prajapati takes things too far by ordering Shambhunath to bring his favorite student, the 12-year-old Naina, to him for the most disgusting reason that you can probably imagine. That’s when Shambhunath loses his cool and murders Prajapati. And then he proceeds to hack him into pieces and get rid of every single part of his body.

If “Vadh” is your first murder mystery, you’ll probably assume that since Shambhunath owed all that money to Prajapati, his death would put an end to all his problems. If this is your umpteenth murder mystery, you know that it’s just the beginning of Shambhunath’s problems. The first one arises in the form of Manju because she fails to fathom Shambhunath’s ruthlessness. As soon as she hears what Prajapati is asking of him, she understands her husband’s reaction. But, apart from a secret reason, since Prajapati was Inspector Singh’s steady source of secondary income, he becomes invested in his disappearance and makes Shambhunath his prime suspect because Prajapati would visit him the most. Well, Shambhunath does try to get himself arrested by confessing to Singh’s assistant about killing Prajapati. However, the assistant rubbishes it because he refuses to believe that Shambhunath is capable of such monstrosities. The final issue appears in the form of Prajapati’s employer, Dada, who finishes what Prajapati had started without a single thought. He tells Shambhunath to vacate his house within three days because he has decided to put an end to Shambhunath’s slow payment of his debt.


‘Vadh’ Ending Explained: Why Didn’t The Police Arrest Shambhunath Despite Knowing He’s The Killer?

Singh keeps pestering Shambhunath about the location of Prajapati’s phone, and Shambhunath keeps denying its existence because he really doesn’t know anything about it. But when he realizes how serious Singh is about getting the phone, he searches for it one last time in his house and finds it. While he goes to get it recharged and fixed, Dada attacks the Mishra household and beats up both Manju and Shambhunath. When Singh comes to visit Shambhunath in the hospital, he confesses his sins again and hands over the phone to Singh. That’s when we find out the secret reason behind Singh’s pursuit. Prajapati had recorded a video of Singh with the MLA’s wife—thereby tying back to the opening scene of the film—and was threatening to leak it if Singh didn’t stop asking Prajapati for extra bribes. So, Shambhunath’s killing of Prajapati came as a blessing in disguise for Singh. Therefore, Singh decides to return the favor by framing Dada for Prajapati’s murder. This frees Shambhunath completely. To celebrate that, the Mishras cut their ties with Diwakar, handed over their house to Naina since she lives in an unfinished hut with her family, and then went away to an undisclosed location.

I think “Vadh” never decides if it’s going to portray Shambhunath as a person grappling with the consequences of acting out violently or if it’s going to portray Shambhunath as an offshoot of Georgekutty from “Drishyam.” And it succeeds in establishing neither of those character arcs. It does settle on portraying Shambhunath as some kind of unsung hero. But, in that process, it also gives Inspector Singh a redemption arc for no reason whatsoever. The moment when Shambhunath and Singh share this triumphant exchange of looks, it’s so jarring and proof of the fact that the filmmakers are really amateurish. However, hands down, the worst aspect of the film is the intentionally obtuse parent-child dynamic, as it portrays Diwakar as the real villain of the story and Manju and Shambhunath as the victims of elder abuse. I think it’ll be a hit among boomers who like to blame millennials and Gen Z for all their woes, as it doesn’t challenge their parenting capabilities. Everyone else will see right through its nonsense. It’s sad that despite having such talented individuals in the cast and crew, the directors couldn’t capitalize on it with their direction and writing. Well, let’s hope they have learned something while making “Vadh” and are going to implement those lessons in their next project.


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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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