MUMBAI: It has always been a morbid fascination of filmmakers to retell real stories of murders — unsolved or otherwise. These are different from the underworld sagas in which the head count runs in the dozens, such as with “Black Friday,” “Shootout At Wadala,” “Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai” and so on.
In the wake of the Indrani Mukherjea case, Mahesh Bhatt has hogged publicity with the murder’s eerie similarities to his new film “Ab Raat Guzarne Wali Hai.”
But Vishal Bhardwaj has also written and produced “Talvar,” which presents three different viewpoints on the famous Aarushi Talwar murder case.
Directed by Meghna Gulzar and starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Neeraj Kabi, the film revolves around the murder of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade, a domestic helper, in May 2008 at the Talwars’ residence in Delhi, which had aroused huge public interest.
The infamous Neeraj Grover murder was spotlighted in Ram Gopal Varma’s fairly gripping, but flop film “Not A Love Story.” Again based on a real incident in May 2008, the prime suspects, who were also arrested, for the television executive’s murder were actress Maria Susairaj and her boyfriend, former naval officer Jerome Mathew. Mathew was eventually found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and destruction of evidence and is serving time.
“My film was inspired by true events, but it was not based on them completely,” Varma said then. “When I first read about the case, I was fascinated with the psychological aspects, that two seemingly ordinary people can go completely berserk!”
Charles Sobhraj, a serial killer of Vietnamese-Indian origin, killed Western tourists during the 1970s. He was apparently driven to murder for the sake of an adventurous lifestyle. Farrukh Dhondy’s book, “The Bikini Murders,” has now inspired the long-delayed “Main Aur Charles,” starring Randeep Hooda and directed by Prawaal Raman, and the rights have been obtained for an authentic perspective from the cop who had investigated the case.
Then there was the sensational murder of Jessica Lall, a Delhi model, who was shot dead on April 30, 1999, while she was bartending a party in Delhi. Onlookers stated that Manu Sharma was the murderer, but he was acquitted on technical grounds. Later, after an outcry, Sharma was tried again and sentenced for life.
This story was filmed by Rajkumar Gupta in “No One Killed Jessica” and was a success in 2011 with Rani Mukerji as counsel and Vidya Balan as Jessica’s sister Sabrina, who also supported the making of the film.
Last and in many ways perhaps the least, Mallika Sherawat played the on-screen version of Bhanwari Devi, a social worker from Rajasthan who was gang-raped and murdered in 1992 by a group of men. This story was converted into a mediocre, rather cheesy pot-boiler by K.C. Bokadia in 2014’s “Dirty Politics.”
However, very few remember the first-ever such story to be filmed and dramatized — R.K. Nayyar’s 1963 “Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke,” produced by Sunil Dutt, who also played the lead in this film with Leela Naidu.
The film was said to be a thinly-disguised version of the famous Nanavati case where an upright naval captain, Capt. Nanavati, shot dead the lover of his wife. The film was said to be ahead of its times and too bold, doing only moderately well.
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