Thank You Induji
Savdhaan India, Jan 31, 2013
A middle-class family in Guna, Madhya Pradesh; Rupali, her sister Rushali, young son Shubham, and domestic help Sukhi are attacked. Rupali is killed, Rushali and Shubham struggle for their lives in the ICU, and Sukhi gets away with superficial wounds. Vinod, Rupali's husband, rushes back from Indore and is devastated to find that his happy and contented family has suddenly been mercilessly torn apart at the very roots.
Mohnish Bahl poses the critical question: what had happened to trigger this heinous crime? Rupali is no more, and her sister and son are in no condition to give any explanation. The prime witness, Sukhi, talks of three strange men barging in, manhandling him, and his hiding and locking himself up in the bathroom where apparently he is unconscious and before he could think of doing anything to help the culprits had perpetrated the brutal carnage and gone. The police runs through all local "crooks", troublemakers and inside informants, trying to get to the culprits… but from all aspects they reach a dead-end. Who were the real culprits? What was the motive?
The story meanders through the ups and downs of a near-fictional "whodunit". Sukhi's statement is all they have to go by, and he is also a possible suspect from the point of view of the police. Evidence comes up that the boy has drug and gambling addictions. But Vinod vehemently vouches for his young domestic help. Sukhi is let off on Vinod's insistence that he is like a member of the family, has been in their house since age 13, and is most trustworthy.
Mohnish emphasizes the police skepticism; there is no obvious motive, nothing seems to fall into place. Then, with Rushali gaining consciousness, although continuing to be critical, a new window opens for the police investigation. She manages to say that her "didi" [Rupali] hit her! A shocked Vinod and astounded police ask her why, but that is all she manages to utter before she gasps again for breathe.
As Mohnish narrates, Rushali's statement changes the entire face of the case. From the assumption that three strangers had forcibly entered Vinod Khuswa's house and created havoc, now, based on Rushali's statement, the question is what could be behind Rupali's brutal fatal attack on her sister? Further, based on this evidence, Sukhi's earlier statements are proved false. Why had he lied? So the police brings Sukhi back for interrogation.
Sukhi refuses to speak in front of the police, but at home on Vinod's immense pressure and insistence he reveals an unimaginable yet stark explanation for Rupali attacking her sister. She was allegedly having an extra-marital affair with her college friend, Shekhar. According to Sukhi, Shekhar would come often to the house in Vinod's absence. That fateful afternoon, Rushali tried to stop her sister from this liaison, and that provoked the attack. Shekhar then apparently asked Rupali to go away with him, which she refused; incensed by this refusal, Shekhar got violent. Sukhi claims that he locked himself up in the bathroom out of fear and he heard everyone's cries for help… but it was too late. Sukhi explains that he fabricated the earlier statement to protect Rupali's reputation.
Mohnish very empathetically explains Vinod's state of mind. He is absolutely stunned on hearing this tale. That night Rushali also loses her battle for life. The police does not even get the chance to crosscheck Sukhi's new statement with Rushali. But based on what she had managed to say and linking it with Sukhi's sensational revelation, the police sets out for Shekhar. They find him and he protests vehemently against the allegations. Vinod loses his composure when he sees his wife's alleged paramour and subsequent murderer. Collecting further "evidence" of phone records and past track records from college, Shekhar is arrested. The police is now convinced that they are on the right track to solve the case. But Mohnish Bahl pointedly brings us to Vinod's precarious state of mind. His son is battling for life, and most pertinently, he cannot accept that his loving wife Rupali could have possibly betrayed his trust thus. Tragically, to answer his questions and put his mind to rest, Rupali is not alive.
Vinod now notices some oddities in Sukhi's behaviour. He is lying, and his surreptitious movements rouse his doubts. Sending Sukhi out of the house on some pretext, Vinod goes through Sukhi's personal belongings and comes across some apparently very questionable, possible po*nographic, print material. He brings this evidence to the police and shares his observations. The police had been suspicious at the very outset of Sukhi's superficial wounds in contrast to the brutal ones inflicted on the others. It was on Vinod's assurance that they had shifted their gaze from the boy. But now to get to him they create a foil by announcing that young Shubham has recovered. Which implies another eyewitness statement. Sukhi now is caught trying to get away… and is brought into the police dragnet. After police third degree he confesses and what emerges is the greater atrocity. Sukhi confesses to a morbid attraction to Rushali, his obsession with her, and finally his obscene propositioning and attempt to molest her. Rupali comes to her defense and in trying to hit Sukhi with a flower vase, misses him and hits Rushali by mistake. Thereafter Sukhi brutally murders Rupali and attacks Shubham.
Mohnish Bahl now brings us the candid analysis, yes Sukhi is arrested and is in jail. Vinod had literary picked up a 13-year old street urchin and given him shelter in his home. He took care of his education and treated him like a member of the family. And this boy, after 5 years of being "part of the family" destroyed it. Many of us in trying to help a destitute child, might do the same, bring the child home, reiterates Mohnish. But statistics show that 64 per cent juvenile criminals are 16-18 year olds. As per psychiatrist or psychoanalyst statistics, the "needs" or "desires" of a 12 or 13-year old are different to those of an 18-year-old boy or man. Vinod failed to recognize this. For this one simple error of judgment, Vinod had to pay a very heavy price. Mohnish warns, that if we come across any "needy" child it is advisable to put them in the care of an appropriate NGO, where they are given direction in a proper and appropriate manner.
Shubham recovers and returns home after seven months. He misses his mother immensely. Initially, the horrors of the experience haunted and traumatized him. But with proper help from a child psychologist and with Vinod's love and care, he is back to living a normal life.
As his careful parting advise, Mohnish reassures that of course we must trust people around us, but with that trust we must also exercise caution. We must observe everyone we associate with – be it our friends, relatives or domestic helps. It is important to ensure that are they in good company and have healthy habits. In this caution lies our safety. With these words Mohnish one again emphasizes the spirit to fight back in Savdhaan India!