What would your instant reaction be when you
hear of a cold blooded, calculated and pre-meditated murder? The killer also
shows no remorse whatsoever, in fact he feels that he has done the right thing.
You may jump to the conclusion that the murderers have the mindset of the Devil
and deserve the death penalty for such a ghastly crime that he doesn't even
slightly regret. Shaitaan - A Criminal Mind on Colors probes into the seemingly
devilish mind of the criminal in an objective and unbiased manner.
'Criminals are born not made' is a debatable topic which for years has taken the world by storm. Without taking sides, Shaitaan - A Criminal Mind very insightfully decodes the criminal mind. The show opened with the bang last weekend with two grizzly crimes which the people of the state in which they happened will never be able to forget.
In 2010 some cabbies picked passengers from bus depots or railway stations and would initially murder them for money and then for sadistic pleasure. They killed more than 250 people and discarded their bodies across the state before being nabbed by the police. This was the classic case of a hive mind where a cult leader convinced some people who felt alienated by the society to strike back. Sunil (the name of the cult leader as used in the show) was an educated graduate who drove a cab and was livid with moneyed individuals who he would kill mercilessly with his gang members as he would feel envious and vengeful of them. On being caught he seemed without an iota of guilt, he laughed with a blend of eccentricity and dismissive attitude when he told the police his motive behind the murder. As a viewer though it's hard to feel empathetic for this cold blooded murderer; we do realize that angst many downtrodden people have on the moneyed class may sadly motivate hate crimes. Maybe society, economists and politicians should also try to mitigate disparities in society which may give rise to crimes like these. This episode also educated the poorer class that they have no right to transfer their hatred to take the lives of innocent individuals just because they may dislike the moneyed class in general.
On Sunday night, Shaitaan - A Criminal Mind delved into yet another intriguing case of a teenager Ajay (the name of the criminal as used on the show) who mercilessly killed his father, half brother and step mother; he was so full of angst for being cruelly and humiliatingly treated by them for years at a stretch. While confessing his crime Ajay labeled himself as being more sinned against than sinning. This ghastly crime had hit the headlines of all the newspapers of Kolkata in 1995 springing forth a burning hot debate as to whether a tormented childhood and torture inflicted by the family members had moulded an innocent and helpless boy into a criminal.
Both these cases have been researched in an in-depth manner and dramatized without taking away the authenticity of both the crimes. Host Sharad Kelkar is a host par excellence. He with his baritone voice narrates the crimes in a very dignified manner. His narration mode beautifully blends empathy for the criminals and also the strong message that the crimes were simply unpardonable. The script writer instead of spoon feeding the viewers with what may have made these people criminals, asks the viewers open ended questions as to what factors according to them may have brought up the devilish worst in these criminals.
What is noteworthy of this show is that it very objectively introspects into the criminals' psyche. They give the criminals a chance to explain as to why they undertook such a deadly path. They also allow the people who may have been responsible for the criminal to commit the crimes to voice their side of the story. Ajay's biological mom gives her explanation as to why she had deserted her son. His 'evil' step-mom whom he murdered is also shown dealing with an alcoholic husband and feeling the burden of having to take care of a son to whom she hadn't given birth to.
In simply thirty minutes the script writer crisply takes us through the crime case- of how it was committed, how the police nabbed the criminals, the murder motive, myriad factors which may have groomed the criminal mind and the current status of the criminals. The dialogues are sleek through which the personalities of the criminals, cops, victims and those who knew the criminals are well etched out. The Meerut and Kolkata episodes beautifully captured the pulse of both the cities.
All actors have been very well directed and have executed their roles very well. Those who have played the criminals have delved into the psyche of the criminals beautifully and have therefore portrayed the roles so well.
The art direction has verisimilitude. The venues of the crime do have blood and gore but seem realistic and not taken out from a horror film. The costumes reflect the personalities of those wearing them. The actors had no or minimal makeup, just like people have in real life.
It would be however nice to see more of Sharad Kelkar's narration as he after all is very good at it. Also it would be nice if Sharad could be seen interacting with the cops, criminal psychologists, forensic experts and lawyers at the end of every episode who could have voiced their opinions aloud on the show. It would be great if the show makers can also educate the viewers on anti-social personality disorder, a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. Many criminals suffer from this. It will be nice if they also convey the message that for behavioral disorders people need to consult a mental health professional. After all many Indians still think that it's a stigma; they don't know that good counseling and medication if necessary may prevent people from evolving into criminals.
Reporter and Author: Pallavi Bhattacharya