It was a rainy night and the police had cordoned off the area where the murder had occurred. Mr. Rajeev, the famous TV actor was no more and all his colleagues and neighbours were shocked. Suicide was ruled out due to several factors, first- he had a happy personal and professional life and second, he died due to fall from the window of his apartment located in the city’s one of the most posh areas; when everyone knew that he was afraid of heights. Detective ABD was on the case with his trusted aide Shrivastava. The case clearly had murder written all over it but there were very few clues to work with. ABD walked up to the the dining table and found two half-eaten pieces of what seemed like a birthday or anniversary cake and alongside it lay an ear-ring and a phone. Knowing that Mr. Rajeev lived alone, the earring seemed to be the clue to solving the case. It seemed like a simple puzzle with the answer right there in the history of Mr Rajesh’s phone book. ABD picked up the phone and opened the call log. It was erased. The murderer had deleted the history but it seemed more like a futile attempt because the police could easily trace the records with the service provider. Moreover, the rest of the cake was right there in the fridge. Shrivastava soon brought the rest of the cake and it clearly read- “Happy Birthday Rajeev”
This was weird because ABD, Shrivastava and all other ardent fans of Rajeev knew that his birthday fell on 5th of June and not on or around 15th of March. This had given the case a weird angle. Whose was this earring and why was Rajeev celebrating his own birthday alone? Moreover, why was he celebrating his own birthday on the wrong date?
The next day, as the records came from the service provider, it turned out that the calls were not local but made to a far off nondescript town in Madhya Pradesh. The number read- 9810975586* and it belonged to one Ramesh Tiwari in Chhatarpur, (MP). ABD made a call promptly to that number and a frail, female voice picked up the phone from the other side. She seemed like an old lady. Ramesh was her husband’s name who had died a few days back. She also had two kids- both males, working as watchmen in the nearby city Gwalior. She was clueless about the whole murder fiasco and could not give much details mostly because she was hard of hearing. ABD was finding this case to be getting more and more complicated. He had no clue what was happening and how a famous TV actor was murdered after making some calls to a family he doesn’t even know. The case had reached a deadlock. The earring also did not fetch any clues as even after repeated enquiry and search, there was no one in town who knew Rajeev and owned or knew anything about the earrings.
ABD, after much running around and beating around the bush accepted his defeat and almost gave up on the case. Suddenly, in an epiphany, he realized that Rajeev was a TV actor and the clue might be in the episodes of the serial he was working in. The serial had helped him shoot to fame with his realistic portrayal of a fearless lawyer who takes on the system. His intense acting had won him many awards and he was popular among viewers of all ages. ABD had in his hands, the CDs of all seasons- 1 to 5 of the show. Shrivastava, his assistant, asked- “Sir, as the murder is recent, shall we start watching season 5 first and look for clues there?” ABD nodded but suddenly changed his mind. He asked Shrivastava to begin the show from the very start. As the episodes progressed, ABD’s eyes grew wider. He could sense something creep up his skin. There was something which seemed off and ABD was almost sure he had nailed it. Before they were done with episode 27 of the first season, ABD sprang up and asked Shrivastava to bring the producers and directors of the show.
Can you guess the ending? Take a guess and Scroll down for the answer.
The detective noticed the minute change in the voice and facial features of Rajeev in season 1 itself. It seemed as if the actor who began his career in the serial was someone else but was replaced by a lookalike. Usually, there is bad acting in the initial episodes and it improves as the series progresses but here, Rajeev acted nicely in the initial 15 episodes and then suddenly started acting like an amateur for the next 5-6 episodes. Later, again the acting improved and there was this changed voice and pattern of facial hair. When grilled by the police, the producers confessed that they had discovered a lookalike of Rajeev during their trip to Gwalior. (It was the watchman of the building of the producer’s relative who lived in Gwalior.)
They used to joke that if this actor doesn’t do well, they could replace him with this lookalike. But when the actor died due to alcohol toxicity in a private party at the producers’, they, in order to save their show, really replaced him with the watchman. To their joy, this new guy had good skills and soon learned. In his initial interviews, Rajeev had confessed his fear of heights and that’s why the new guy also continued to repeat the same. But due to the loss of his real identity and the condition by the producers that he could not contact his home otherwise the game will be over, he felt sad.
That night, it was his birthday and he had ordered the cake for himself as only he knew his own real identity. The depression of being alienated from self was killing him. All the accolades were going to someone who was already dead and his own family was suffering back home. All of this drove the lookalike Kamal to suicide. The earring belonged to his mother and he made those calls to just hear her voice. The mother was later found to be an Alzheimer’s patient and was not able to recall that her son had not come home and has been missing since past 5 years.