A little boy is quiet in the class, doesn’t play with his friends or even mix with them. At home, he is always scared and in tears. Reason: his short-tempered father, who regularly beats up his mother and him as well.
When the child is asked to write about his family in the class, he unwittingly paints the sordid picture. Even though you are shocked out of your wits, you watch in hapless wonder, the unfolding of the heart-wrenching tale.
This is not a story of a fictional soap but a real incident recreated on a Sony crime show. Back in the ’90s, there was a reality-based crime show India’s Most Wanted aired on Zee and was hosted by Suhaib Ilyasi wherein unsolved criminal cases were recreated with an attempt to catch fugitives.
It was extremely popular and led to spin-offs like Sansani and Vaardat on news channels. Now, two decades later, the format is back in a big way on general entertainment channels (GEC). While Crime Patrol Dastak on Sony aims to make viewers aware of signs of crime around them, Savdhaan India - Mumbai Fights Back on Life Ok wants to make people alert.
The latest entrant Shaitaan (Colors) goes into the psychology of a criminal. So, what’s led to the spurt of crime shows on GECs?
According to Ajit Thakur, programming head, Life Ok, real-life crime stories when told on a GEC platform — given its large reach — can actually lead to alert and aware citizens.
“The humanisation of the news and these real life incidents creates a vigilant society. Also, when told in a story format, the chances of viewers resonating with it is far higher when compared to TV news,” he reasons.
It’s probably this very idea that led Colors to launch their version in Shaitaan. Crime shows also bring in captive audience that follows the story to the end. Manisha Sharma, weekend programming head, Colors, says, “The sudden increase in the number of crime and investigative shows prove that the audience has readily accepted this content on mainstream channels and are looking for more.”
Looks like crime is where all the action is, literally and figuratively!