Crime Drama Thriller
Sarita Pande aged 45 belonged to a middle-class Maharashtrian family in Mumbai. Her only daughter Jyoti was in 9th grade of Vidya Vihar School in Vashi. Her husband Rishabh worked for a multinational company as a general manager. They led a perfectly peaceful and happy life until the arrival of that miserable woman.
Rishabh Sarita and Jyoti had gone shopping. They parked their car in the parking lot of the shopping mall. They went in and enjoyed the cool breeze of AC blowing in their faces. They were too busy shopping to notice the drama that unfolded on the street. Several ruffians chased a young belle who screamed for help. No one bothered to help her. She entered the parking lot and hid behind a car. It belonged to Rishabh who came back after an hour. He noticed a young woman crouched behind his car. He approached her and asked," What's the matter, madam? You seem to be scared. Are you in trouble?" She replied " My name is Sheetal. My alcoholic father forced me into prostitution. By God's grace, I managed to escape from the brothel. The pimp must have sent his men after me." Rishabh introduced himself and his family to Sheetal. They asked her to stay with them overnight. She accepted their hospitality and went to their house. Sheetal slept in the guest room after a delicious meal at night. She woke up early in the morning and helped Sarita to prepare breakfast. Sheetal had regaled everyone with the exploits of her great-grandparents during the freedom struggle. She thanked Sarita and Rishabh for their kindness and proceeded towards the gate. Sarita stopped her immediately. She asked her to stay with them until she found any suitable accommodation. Sheetal hesitated to accept her offer. Sarita convinced her to stay with them temporarily.
Sheetal had won over the hearts of all the family members with her culinary skills and pleasing manners. She gained their confidence within a short period. When Rishabh's parents returned from their pilgrimage, she enthralled them with her rendition of classical music.
She started showing her true colors after six months.
One day she entered the kitchen and struck up a conversation with Sarita. She asked her, " How long have you been married? Are you happy with your married life?" Sarita answered," We have been married for 20 years. I feel blessed to have a loving husband and an adorable daughter. My parents in law treat me as their own daughter." Sheetal replied," That's great. My friends told me that a woman loses her entity after marriage. Husbands take their wives for granted and treat them like slaves." " That's rubbish," retorted Sarita," Your friends have misguided you. My husband loves me from the bottom of his heart. He has been faithful to me. He has never looked at another woman." " I like your confidence," said Sheetal, " However, I would advise you not to be too complacent. Men are not reliable." Sarita lost her temper. She burst out, " Are you trying to set me up against my husband? How dare you try to poison my mind?" Sheetal tried to calm her down. She said," I am sorry to have offended you. It was purely my personal opinion. I have witnessed my father tormenting my mother." Sarita replied, " It's ok. You are entitled to have your own opinion about marriage. Please don't try to impose your views upon us." Sheetal was burning with fury. She felt humiliated. Finally, the storm had subsided.
A couple of months passed peacefully. Sheetal garnered praise from everyone except Sarita. Her husband said, " Why don't you learn new recipes from Sheetal? She is an excellent cook." Sheetal smiled at her, but Sarita quickly turned her face away. Rishabh was puzzled by her behavior. He had hurt her feelings. Sarita regretted her decision to give her shelter.
Her mother-in-law asked her to learn music from Sheetal. Sarita hated her very much. She had invaded her family as an alien.
Sheetal had taken over the kitchen duties depriving Sarita of her rightful place.
Sheetal noticed her displeasure and decided to leave the house. She surprised everyone with her decision. " Please don't go," pleaded Jyoti. Rishabh and his parents urged her to stay, but Sarita kept quiet. She suppressed her grin. Rishabh turned towards her and said," Why don't you ask her to stay back?" Sarita looked at her nonchalantly and said," It is her wish. We don't have any rights to stop her."
Rishabh was taken aback by her brazenness. He said," You are staying with us. That is final. I don't care whether Sarita likes it or not. Go inside." Sheetal gave a conspiratorial smile. Sarita felt like slapping her. She controlled her temper.
Sheetal came up with a masterplan to teach Sarita a lesson. She was pacing to and fro as if she was worried about something. Rishabh returned from his office. Sheetal offered him a glass of water and went to prepare coffee.
" Where is Sarita?" asked Rishabh while sipping coffee. Sheetal looked around and spoke in a hushed voice. She said," Sarita has changed a lot in the past few months. She is going out secretly to meet someone. I think she is having an extra-marital affair. "
Rishabh couldn't believe his ears. He said," This is a pretty serious accusation. Do you have any proof of her infidelity?" Sheetal replied," I wouldn't dare to level charges against anyone without any proof." She showed him the photos of Sarita with a stranger. She said," I am sorry to break this news to you. Sarita has been cheating you for the past six months. I tried to question her about her frequent outing. She not only evaded my questions but also asked me to mind my own business. I couldn't tolerate her illicit relationship. She forgot that she was your wife and had a teenage daughter."
Rishabh was furious. He decided to confront her. Sarita returned home after the dinner. Rishabh shouted at her," Where the hell have you been? I was so worried about you." Sarita was placid in her response. She said calmly, " I will tell you everything tomorrow. Good night."
Rishabh stared at her without saying a word. He wanted to teach her a lesson for betraying his trust.
He followed her to their bedroom. She was already asleep. He spent a sleepless night thinking about his wife.
He got up early in the morning and went for a walk. He came back after an hour. He was surprised to find Sarita wearing an expensive sari and decked up in jewels. He asked her," Is there any special occasion today? Are you going to meet your boyfriend?" Sarita turned to face him. Her face had lost its sheen. She retorted," Have you lost your mind? Who gave you that silly idea?" Rishabh looked at her with pure contempt and hatred in his eyes. He added," I have to thank Sheetal for opening my eyes. She alerted me about your activities." He showed her the incriminating photo. He asked her to clarify her position on this delicate issue. Sarita was speechless. Words failed to prove her innocence. Rishabh couldn't tolerate her silence. He assumed that she was guilty of adultery. He vented out his fury by repeatedly stabbing her with a knife. She was dead. Jyoti saw everything. Her eyes were wide open with fear as she clapped her hand over her mouth. She became unconscious after seeing her mother's death.
Rishabh dropped the knife and looked at her without blinking his eyes. Sarita's mobile rang several times and got disconnected. Rishabh picked it up from the stool kept in a corner. He saw that there was a missed call from an unknown number. He dialed it and heard a male voice answering the call. "Hello," he continued, " I am calling on behalf of Pawan Motors. Your new car is ready to be delivered."
Rishabh replied, " Sarita is not here. I am her husband. I do not remember placing an order for a new car. Could you please brief me about this transaction?" The salesman answered, " Your wife said that she wanted to surprise you on your birthday. She had bought the car in your name. She visited our showroom every month to pay the installments. She paid her final installment last night. She requested us to deliver it today on the occasion of your birthday. Please call us back with your preferred time and mode of delivery. Do accept our birthday wishes." Rishabh felt mortified over his hasty action. He wept bitterly over his irreparable loss. He had lost his soulmate of 20 years. He contemplated suicide but saw his daughter lying unconscious. He lifted her up in his arms and placed her on the couch. His parents returned home after visiting a temple. Rishabh told them about the cold-blooded murder of Sarita. His mother slapped him hard for killing his innocent wife. Sheetal came back after buying groceries from the supermarket. She was stunned to see everyone glaring at her.
" What's the matter?" she asked," Are you upset with me? I haven't done anything to offend you." Rishabh answered," You have ruined our lives. I regret the day I brought you home. You are a despicable creature. You cooked up nasty stories about my wife. I believed you and killed her." He dragged her along to show Sarita's body. Sheetal was horrified by what she saw. She had expected Rishabh to file for divorce. Rishabh's mother called up Sarita's parents and brother. She also contacted the police. Rishabh sprinkled water on Jyoti's face to revive her. However, she showed no signs of regaining consciousness. Rishabh and his parents were alarmed. They sent for their family doctor who suggested immediate hospitalization. Rishabh was a broken man. He was in tears. He turned towards Sheetal and said," I don't want to see you in my house. Just get out, or else I will kill you." She picked up her handbag and pretended to leave. She went near the door and took out a revolver from her bag. She pointed it towards Jyoti. She threatened to kill her if Rishabh didn't transfer his property to her. Rishabh signed along the dotted lines to save his daughter.
His parents were shaken to the core. The police arrived shortly and arrested him. The police interrogated him for more than an hour before leading him away. It was precisely at this moment that Sarita's parents and her brother entered. They ignored Rishabh's parents and went to the kitchen directly. Sarita's mother cried her heart out. Her husband wiped away his tears. Arjun mourned over the loss of his precious sister. They got up and moved towards the living room. Sarita's mother sat near Jyoti. She patted her head lovingly and shed tears to see her unconscious granddaughter. The ambulance arrived shortly. Sarita's body was sent for autopsy while Jyoti was admitted in a private hospital.
Arjun paced to and fro in the corridor waiting for the doctor. The latter came out of the emergency room with a grim look on his face. Arjun asked him," What happened to my niece? Is she alright?" The doctor replied," She is reeling under the shock of her mother's untimely demise. She is under medication and responding to our treatment. Unfortunately, she has lost her ability to speak. You may see her. She is awake." Arjun asked his parents to go and see her. He waited outside for his turn. They came back after ten minutes. Their eyes were moist. Arjun went in to see her. She was leaning against her pillow. She saw him and sat upright. She gave him a weak smile and motioned him to sit down. He sat beside her and squeezed her hand gently. Jyoti asked for a pen and paper. He left her for a while and came back with her request. She started writing furiously on the paper. She handed over the paper to Arjun. She described how Sheetal posed as a woman in distress and came to stay with them. She stayed with them for nearly eight months and poisoned her father's mind against her mother. He believed Sheetal and killed his wife in a fit of rage.
Arjun was fuming. He asked Jyoti how she knew about Sheetal's involvement.
She wrote that there were heated arguments in the house for the past four days. Her mother wanted Sheetal to leave, but her father wouldn't hear of it. Jyoti quoted the exact words spoken by her father before the murder. She mentioned that she was paralyzed with fear and couldn't intervene. Arjun looked at her. She concluded her writing by imploring him to avenge his sister's death. She asked him to have Sheetal arrested. Arjun promised her that he would make Sheetal pay for her crime.
Jyoti got discharged from the hospital after a couple of days. She went to stay with her maternal grandparents. Arjun decided to meet Rishabh for more information.
He went to jail to visit Rishabh. He encouraged Rishabh to come out with his story. Rishabh poured his heart out to him. Arjun raised his eyebrows in concern. Rishabh further added that Sheetal had forcefully sought the possession of his house. She compelled him to sign the document for transferring the ownership of the house. He obeyed her to save his daughter from dying. Rishabh concluded," I request you to retrieve my house from that insolent bitch. She destroyed my family and my happiness. I thought that you would never come to see me after what I did to Sarita. I am grateful to you for looking after Jyoti. How is she doing?"
Arjun said," Jyoti is fine. She has recovered from her trauma. However, she can't speak for the rest of her life. I am sorry. I hated you for killing my sister. I couldn't help feeling sorry for you when Jyoti told me her version of the story. I have already promised to seek justice for her and Sarita. Don't worry about your house. I will get it back for you."
Arjun went to see Rishabh's parents. He was disappointed to learn that Sheetal had evicted them from their house. He was worried about them. He tried to search for them. He asked the neighbors if they knew anything about the old man and his wife. A young lady told him that she had seen them at a nearby temple. He asked for the direction and thanked her.
He reached the place within ten minutes and saw Rishabh's parents living like a beggar. He wiped away his tears and approached them. He convinced them to stay with him at his house. Arjun's parents hesitated to welcome them. Arjun took them aside and told them everything he had learned from Jyoti and Rishabh. They were horrified to know about Sheetal's conspiracy and her wickedness. Their hatred for Rishabh vanished into thin air. They felt sorry for him and his parents. They came back with a smile on their faces. They asked Rishabh's parents to stay with them.
Jyoti was overjoyed to see her paternal grandparents. She touched their feet and hugged them.
Arjun sipped his coffee silently. He was thinking about Sheetal. He mulled over his next plan of action.