Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld review: A captivating ethical investigation

‘Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld’ depicts the events that gave rise to encounter specialists in Mumbai as well as their ultimate fall from grace. The documentary is now streaming on Netflix.


In the 1980s and 1990s, with organized crime on the rise, gangsters were more powerful than the police in Mumbai. The city is under the thumb of Dawood Ibrahim and his crime syndicate, D-Company. 

To put a stop to gang activities, A.A. Khan, Police Addl. Commissioner, forms a team of hand-picked police officers who are ready to risk their lives as well as take the lives of these gangsters. 

Khan’s team takes down seven gangsters in 1991 in the biggest operation of the Mumbai Police. Such events came to be known as “encounters” in India.

It is the significant events in the history of the city, like the 1992 riots and the 1993 bombings, that escalate the tension and power struggle between the police and Dawood, culminating in the formation of a special squad of encounter specialists.

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While the police are able to control the activities and expansion of the D-Company, their own power is left unchecked, resulting in an abuse of power. 

The documentary explores how the police, in the process of finding a solution to the problem of uncontrollable crime, became the problem.


There is an ethical question at the heart of the documentary. Its approach to the question involves showcasing both sides; the testimonies of the former gangsters and encounter specialists give space to the viewers to form their own judgment. 

The creators take a step further and inquire about the inner moral dilemma that encounter specialists face on a personal level. For instance, the policemen talk about how they come to terms with killing people when they have been taught to look at it as a sin all their lives.

The events that the documentary follows are accompanied by media footage, images, and the opinions of journalists to give a captivating and in-depth account.


At times, the documentary gives inadequate information, leaving gaping holes in the narrative. It feels like there are scattered pieces of incomplete details everywhere.

While there are enough journalists reporting the events in the documentary, it leaves the viewers asking for an analysis of the events by experts. There are opinions and ideas here and there to support the narrative, but they do not seem enough.


‘Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld’ is a documentary worth watching. There has been a discourse on the power of the police in the West. This documentary looks at it in the Indian context. 

This short documentary will make the viewers question and think about the subject from a political as well as a moral perspective.

Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld
Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld review: A captivating ethical investigation 1

Director: Raaghav Dar, Francis Longhurst

Date Created: 2023-01-06 21:02

Editor's Rating:

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