‘Mafia: Chapter 1’: Toronto serial killer’s victims’ photos used in Tamil movie to depict criminals

Arun Vijay in ‘Mafia: Chapter 1’

Arun Vijay in ‘Mafia: Chapter 1’  

Lyca Productions find themselves in middle of controversy, as families of the victims enraged at Karthick Naren film’s decision to use random images from the Internet

Lyca Productions, the makers of recently-released Tamil film Mafia: Chapter 1 starring the likes of Arun Vijay, Prasanna and Priya Bhavani Shankar, find themselves in the middle of a heated controversy as it has emerged that the film used mug-shot photos of five of the eight men murdered by Canadian serial killer Bruce McArthur, in a pivotal scene.

Directed by Karthick Naren, the scene appears around 39 minutes into the movie, when the photos are stuck, along with those of many other criminals, on a police investigation board, as two cops discuss the operation. The photos are meant to indicate men who have connections to a drug kingpin, as per the narrative in the film.

The scene in ‘Mafia’ during which the victims’ photos are used on a police board

The scene in ‘Mafia’ during which the victims’ photos are used on a police board  

According to a report in CBC News, the photos used are of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Selim Esen, Abdulbasir Faizi, Kirushna Kanagaratnam and Soroush Mahmudi: all victims of the serial killer, whose images were circulated by the media and police at the time of the incident in Canada.

In 2019, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper in Toronto, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of eight missing men, who had all been killed between 2010 and 2017. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

It is unclear how exactly the makers of the film decided to choose these photos of deceased men to portray criminals in the film, but the massive faux pas was spotted after Mafia: Chapter 1 was made available to watch on Amazon Prime in many countries recently, including India and Canada.


Reportedly, family members of the five men were shocked and upset to notice their loved ones’ pictures in the scene and have brought the issue to Lyca’s attention. Since then, a spokesperson for Lyca has told CBC that they will issue an unconditional apology to the families, and will blur the images of the five men on the police investigation board after the coronavirus lockdown in India, and the company resumes work again.

Further, they added that the images were downloaded randomly from the Internet as they were available on public forums and used purely for ‘creative narration’ purposes.

Mafia: Chapter 1 is no longer available to stream on Prime in Canada with a statement that reads, “Our agreements with the content provider don't allow purchases of this title at this time.”

However, it is still present for viewing in India on Amazon Prime, where the movie released on February 21. It starred Arun Vijay as Aryan, a narcotics police cop hot on the heels of a drug lord named DK, played by Prasanna. This was the second directorial of Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru filmmaker Karthick Naren, and the movie was extensively promoted in India by Lyca Productions.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 9:23:40 AM |

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