TRIAL BY FIRE on Netflix is a new true crime series based on the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy in Delhi in 1997. Obviously, it’s often a tough watch but made with respect and impressive production quality. Read our Trial by Fire series review here!

TRIAL BY FIRE is a new Netflix series based on real events. The series begins (and ultimately ends) with the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy in Delhi in 1997. However, much of this series is also a courtroom drama as it becomes obvious that this fire could’ve been avoided.

The series has seven 45-minute episodes and plays out over several decades. There is a lot of story to cover, but it’s done in a respectful manner and the production quality is – as always with these India-based Netflix projects – very impressive.

Continue reading our Trial by Fire series review below. Find all seven episodes on Netflix from January 13, 2023.

59 people died and 100 injured

On a fateful night in June 1997, the popular movie Borders was playing at the Uphaar Cinema in South Delhi. A fire broke out and people were trapped inside the theater. This resulted in the death of 59 people and also 100 injured filmgoers.

The latter was mostly from the panic and stampede, while the deaths were a direct result of the smoke from the fire.

As it become obvious that the tragedy could have been avoided, a trial was the next step. Those responsible had to be held accountable. Mostly to avoid more tragedies like this one in the future.

Trial by Fire – Review | Netflix True Crime Series

The tragedy and the trial

Because the series covers both the tragedy and the trial, seven episodes is actually appropriate. After all, it’s a story that ultimately plays out over two decades.

To ensure a very personal and relatable approach, we follow the truly heartbreaking and brave journey of married couple Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy. They lost both their son and daughter in the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy. Rajshri Deshpande and Abhay Deol star as Neelam and Shekhar.

From episode 1, you’ll already get a very good idea of the extremely impressive production quality. And please don’t worry too much about subtitles. As with all Netflix productions from India, half of what is spoken is in English, so you won’t be relying too much on the subtitles to keep up.

Trial By Fire has a stellar ensemble cast that might not be familiar to you if you don’t follow Indian movies or series. However, there are also internationally acclaimed actors in this Netflix series. The cast includes Rajshri Deshpande, Abhay Deol, Rajesh Tailang, Ashish Vidyarthi, Anupam Kher, Ratna Pathak, Shilpa Shukla, and Shardul Bharadwaj. 

Watch Trial by Fire on Netflix now!

Trial by Fire is directed by Prashant Nair who also serves as a showrunner on the Netflix series. The actual series is inspired by the bestseller book, “Trial by Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy”.

This was written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who are the two key characters in the series. Yes, they are real people but since this series is a work of fiction based on true events, I still refer to them as characters in this instance.

Watching seven 45-minute episodes about such as terrible tragedy – including the brutal aftermath which never truly ends – is no easy watch. However, if you like productions based on actual events (or true crime in general), you should check out this Netflix series. Hopefully, we will never see another fire tragedy like the one at the Uphaar Cinema.

Trial by Fire premieres on Netflix on January 13, 2023.


Showrunner: Prashant Nair
Directors: Prashant Nair, Randeep Jha
Writers: Prashant Nair, Kevin Luperchio
Cast: Rajshri Deshpande, Abhay Deol, Rajesh Tailang, Ashish Vidyarthi, Anupam Kher, Ratna Pathak, Shilpa Shukla, Shardul Bharadwaj


After the deadly Uphaar cinema fire, two grief-stricken parents navigate the loss of their kids and a dogged fight for justice. Based on true events.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
Latest posts by Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard (see all)