Is Trial by Fire Based on a True Story? Real-life Events Behind Netflix’s Show Explained


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Netflix has produced a number of series that are based on true stories. These include both docuseries and fictionalized versions of true events. The new series Trial by Fire is yet another one in Netflix’s vast repertoire of TV shows and is centered around the Uphaar Cinema fire that unfortunately had numerous casualties. In this article, you can find out if Trial by Fire is based on a true story and get pieces of information about real-life events behind Netflix’s show.

Trial by Fire is based on a true story. The show’s storyline is centered around the Uphaar Cinema fire incident, which really happened in real life. Trial by Fire follows a group of grieving people who are trying to get justice for what happened to their loved ones, and their battle against the culprits lasted many years. The exact events happened in real life.

The Uphaar Cinema tragedy was one of the worst cinema fires in India’s history and led to widespread outrage and calls for increased safety regulations in public places. This prolonged battle for justice finally came to an end in 2021, with the Delhi court awarding seven-year jail terms to Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering with evidence. In January 2023, Netflix decided to release a TV show based on those events, so let’s see in detail what is the real story behind the show.

Is Trial by Fire based on a true story?

Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire, a new television mini-series premiering on Netflix on January 13, 2023, is based on a true story and promises to be a gripping drama. Kevin Luperchio and Prashant Nair create the show and stars an impressive cast, including Abhai Deol, Rajshri Deshpande, and Punit Tiwari, who bring depth and nuance to their characters.

The show delves into the true story of the Uphaar Cinema fire, one of the most tragic and controversial events in Indian history. The show explores the events leading up to the fire, the aftermath, and the legal proceedings that followed. It provides a detailed and nuanced look at the human cost of the disaster and its impact on the lives of those affected by it. The show also examines the issues of negligence and accountability that were at the heart of the case and how it exposed the flaws in the system.

The storyline revolves around Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, played by Abhai Deol, and Neelam Krishnamoorthy, played by Rajshri Deshpande, a couple whose lives are forever changed by the tragedy at Uphaar Cinema. The show follows the couple as they come to terms with the loss of their children in the fire and its impact on their relationship and their lives. Based on the trailer, we get to see their journey as they fight for justice and seek accountability for the tragedy that took their children. Around themselves, they gather other grieving people and families and start making their voices and demands heard.

Their battle for justice in the show lasts years, just like in real life. The show adds a dramatic touch to the real-life events it is based on by incorporating fictional elements and creating characters that bring a human dimension to the story. However, factual real-life events are still at the center of Trial by Fire.

Real-life events behind Trial by Fire

The Uphaar Cinema tragedy was a fire that broke out in a movie theater in Delhi, India on June 13, 1997. The fire, which was caused by a short circuit, killed 59 people and injured over 100 others. The victims were mostly suffocated and crushed to death as people panicked and tried to flee the theater. The incident was one of the worst cinema fires in India’s history and led to widespread outrage and calls for increased safety regulations in public places.


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After the tragedy, The Delhi High Court, in a landmark judgment in 2007, convicted the owner of Uphaar Cinema, Sushil and Gopal Ansal, brothers, and also the management of the Uphaar multiplex for various violations of safety measures and for negligence. They were sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment; later, the SC reduced the imprisonment to one year. Ultimately, in 2021, the Delhi court awarded seven-year jail terms to Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering with evidence.

The tragedy also resulted in the creation of the Uphaar Tragedy Memorial Trust (UTMT), which was set up to provide assistance to the victims and their families, as well as to promote fire safety and emergency preparedness in public places.

The Uphaar Cinema tragedy was a breakthrough in civil compensation law in India


The Uphaar Cinema tragedy had a significant impact on civil compensation law in India. The incident led to widespread outrage and calls for increased accountability and responsibility among those responsible for public safety.

One of the key legal developments that resulted from the Uphaar Cinema tragedy was the introduction of the “doctrine of absolute liability” in India. This doctrine holds that in certain cases, an individual or entity can be held liable for harm caused by their actions, regardless of whether they were negligent or not. The courts in the Uphaar Cinema case held that the owners of the theater were absolutely liable for the harm caused by the fire and ordered them to pay compensation to the victims and their families.


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The case also provided significant precedents for compensation for the losses and damages. The court ordered the owners of the theater to pay compensation of Rs. 60 crores (approx USD 8.3 million) to the families of the victims, which was one of the highest compensation awarded at that time. This compensation was considered a benchmark for similar cases and helped to set the standard for compensation in public liability cases.

The incident also led to increased public awareness about safety and emergency preparedness in public places, which in turn led to an increase in the stringency of safety regulations in India. It also led to the recognition of the right to compensation as an important aspect of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Trial by Fire is streaming on January 13, 2023, only on Netflix.

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