Agatha Christie Wiki

Shubho Mahurat (শুভ মহরৎ) is an award-winning Indian Bengali feature film directed by Rituparno Ghosh released in 2003. The film is an adaptation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple story The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side with a screenplay by also by Rituparno Ghosh. The film won two National Film Awards, for Best Feature Film in Bengali and Best Supporting Actress for Rakhee who portrayed the Miss Marple parallel character.


The film is an adaptation of The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. Most of the plot elements from the original novel have been retained but the backstories of the characters are changed and some side plots are introduced for additional drama and action.

A "Shubho Mahurat" refers to a grand reception usually held on the first day of filming of a new film. In this adaptation, Kakoli, the lead actress in a new film becomes ill after the shubo mahurat. She returns home, accompanied by a young journalist Mallika Sen who hopes to complete her interview. At home, Kakoli becomes violently ill and dies. Everyone at the shubo mahurat becomes a suspect. In parallel with the police, the journalist and her aunt, Ranga Pishima take up the investigation.

Plot summary/Comparison with original novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

The phrase "shubho mahurat" is associated with the beginning of shooting for a feature film. The first day of shooting is usually marked by a grand reception, followed by a token shooting or vice-versa. This Miss Marple-esque film begins with this event which is a parallel for the village fete in the original.

The backstories and characters are changed slightly but parallels are still recognisable. The Marina Gregg parallel is Padmini Chowdhury (Sharmila Tagore). Here she has retired from acting and is now a film producer, normally resident in the US but has come to India to invest in a film. Her second husband Sambit Roy (Sumanta Mukherjee) (Jason Rudd) is an out-of-work director who will direct the film. An actress Kakoli (Kalyani Mandal) will star in the film on Padmini's insistence. Kakoli is the Heather Badcock parallel.

The main protagonist is a journalist Mallika Sen (Nandita Das) who attends the ceremony. There is no parallel to her. She stays with her aunt Ranga Pishima who is the Miss Marple parallel. Like in the original, Ranga does not go to the event in this case because she is not invited.

At the event, Kakoli leaves early saying she has some appointment. Mallika follows her home to conduct an interview. There, Kakoli begins to feel unwell and then dies. Kakoli is a drug addict so at first the police think it is a drug overdose but later finds it is strychnine (not calmo as in original). Mallika recognises a visitor to the house as one of the studio crew and this turns out to be Lalu who is arrested as a drug peddler.

This adaptation contains numerous side plots and background intrigues some of which do not relate to the main plot. Kakoli's husband Pranabesh (Arthur Badcock) has a larger role. Here he is having an affair with a neighbour which gives him a motive for killing Kakoli. He filled her bottle of lassi which she consumed at the studio. He also misleads police saying that some love letters found at the house were penned by Kakoli herself. However Mallika has a sample of Kakoli's handwriting and Ranga is able to conclude the love letters are from someone else--leading to Pranabesh's affair being exposed. In this adaptation Pranabesh is not related to Padmini. In the original, Arthur Badcock was Marina Gregg's first husband.

Sambit also has a backstory involving Kakoli although it is not clear exactly what it is. Padmini tells Mallika this was because Sambit once told Kakoli about an idea for a film but Kakoli told it to someone who stole the idea and made a movie from it. Since then Sambit has been antagonistic to her.

The out-of-work director had a shady past. The witness to his shady past was an aspiring actor, who was subsequently thrown out of the acting circuit. Thereafter, this actor started a catering service for the film unit.

The NRI producer insisted on casting a retired actress, Kakoli (Kalyani Mandal) in a prominent role. Kakoli, a drug addict, subsequently died under mysterious circumstances, on the day of 'Shubho Mahurat'. The journalist Mallika Sen was the only person present at the time of the death. The suspicion naturally fell on the husband of the actress.

The husband reportedly has an amorous relationship with another lady. The unnatural death of the actress made the police come into the scene. An IPS officer named Arindam (Tota Roy Chowdhury) took up the investigation. During the course of investigation, Arindam befriends Mallika. Meanwhile, Mallika caught the fancy of a still photographer named Jojo (Anindya Chatterjee) who, incidentally, is closely related to the NRI producer.

This NRI producer had a past no less interesting than the other protagonists. The NRI producer was an actress of repute in her heyday. She divorced her husband and left the country to settle abroad. Before that, she had given birth to an abnormal child. The course of the film revealed that she bore a grudge against Kakoli for spreading a contagious disease to her while she was pregnant, resulting in the abnormal child.

Another amorous affair runs parallel to the main theme: The camera assistant was repenting for his past affair with the hairdresser. The hairdresser had her problems and she was extracting money very often from the camera assistant. All through the movie, the aunt of the journalist, Ranga Pishima (Raakhee), gave vital leads to the investigation through deductive logic. She was able to read the mind of the niece correctly. Her valuable inputs finally leads to solving of the murder mystery.


  • Sharmila Tagore as Padmini "Ranu" Chowdhury (Marina Gregg)
  • Raakhee as Ranga Pishima (Miss Marple)
  • Nandita Das as Mallika "Mili" Sen (partly Margot Bence)
  • Sumanta Mukherjee as Sambit Roy (Jason Rudd)
  • Kalyani Mandal as Kakoli Sengupta (Heather Badcock)
  • Tota Roy Chowdhury as Arindam Chatterjee (Inspector Craddock)
  • Rajesh Sharma as Sunil Mehra - studio cinematographer
  • Aparajita Adhya as Pramila Mehra, Sunil's wife
  • Moumita Gupta as Kalpana Sengupta (Ella Zielinsky)
  • Anindya Chatterjee as Shubhankar 'Jojo' Chowdhury (photographer- partly Margot Bence)
  • Kaushik Banerjee as Pranabesh
  • Jishu Dasgupta as Kanai
  • Dibya Bhattacharya as Abani Majumdar, Kakoli's husband (Mr Badcock)
  • Abhijit Guha - photographer
  • Goutam Ghose (special appearance)
  • Soumitra Chattopadhyay (special appearance)
  • Subhendu Chattopadhyay (special appearance)
  • Madhabi Mukhopadhyay (special appearance)
  • Saket Bandyopadhyay as Boy at the Stairs
  • Satrajit Bandyopadhyay as Boy at the Stairs
  • Urmila Bhowmick as Newsreader
  • Abhijit Brahmachari as First Policeman
  • Sudip Pal as Second Policeman
  • Sumit Chakraborty as Second Assistant
  • Sumitra Chakraborty as Pranabesh's Girlfriend (as Sumitra Chakrabarti)
  • Arindam Chatterjee as Nandita's assistant (as Arindam Chattopadhyay)
  • Barun Das as First Assistant
  • Mithu Debi as Sadhana
  • Subhra Ghosh as Kakoli's Co-Actress
  • Kameshwar Mishra as Lalu
  • Shakuntala Mondal as Child beside the Ganges
  • Joginder Singh as Child beside the Ganges
  • Atanu Deb as Child beside the Ganges
  • Ujjwal Pramanik as Child beside the Ganges
  • Tabun Munshi as Air ticket Bearer
  • Dilip Patra as Padmini's Servant
  • Hari Singh as Taxi Driver


  • 2003 - National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for Raakhee
  • 2003 - National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali