Wanted: More desi crime thrillers

Wanted: More desi crime thrillers

Wanted: More desi crime thrillers

The anthropologist and FBI agent in Bones, with their humour, chemistry and strength of character are a pleasure to watch. More so because I have always been a sucker for crime thriller shows on television. There is always a connect, a relatable factor you build with such shows on the small screen. You become the detective, putting two and two together, figuring out the possible suspects. Which is why the only thing that makes these shows click is the treatment of the premise and its characters.

I grew up on Karamchand and later CID, and these shows had definitely raised the bar for other detective serials. I still remember the black coat and goggles-clad Karamchand (Pankaj Kapur), eating his carrot and helping the local police solve crimes. He wasn’t James Bond, didn’t have the privilege of snazzy gadgets or a forensic lab to aid him in figuring out the culprit. But he was honest, eccentric  and used his logic and judgement to do this job. One reason why the show achieved a cult status in the 80s and was later revived in 2007, was that it was no longer contemporary.  This was at a time when CID was making waves.

ACP Pradyuman was my new hero. As kids, we would play these characters with friends in the neighbourhood, solving mysteries. Pradyuman along with his formidable team of Abhijeet, Daya and Fredricks were unstoppable and have been so for the last 11 years.

The plausible plots of the story, with a little humour thrown in, courtesy Fredricks, and the dialogues between the team have even got a huge following, even on Facebook! Consider this — a group of fans have created a special forum (its has more than 56,000 ‘likes’) for ACP Pradyuman’s evergreen dialogue — ‘Darwaza locked hai, Daya darwaza tod do.’ Moreover, CID has always been a family entertainer, with the makers being clear that they never wanted to show any crime themes based on women or children.

But although the story has been strong and addictive throughout, the show still does not boast of any high production values. It still has forensic expert Dr Salunkhe presenting some  of the  weirdest gizmos  on television. Compare CID’s Dr Salunkhe’s concoctions to identify the killer to Dr Brennan’s analysis of skulls in Bones and you know that the latter is more believable.

I wish that we didn’t have to see an expert use implausible machines which use a DNA sample to come up with a face structure or PVC pipes that are used to extract remains from a dead body. Get real please.

And we did, with the very recent Powder on Sony, where protagonists set out to bust crime in the narcotics underworld. However, average TRPs didn’t do much justice to this show.

This gets us to the question — why has Indian television never churned out memorable crime thrillers barring a few exceptions? Why do we still have to bask in the glory of a  Karamchand when we should create more polished detective series, instead of churning out tearjerkers by the dozen? Or are we complacent and happy watching reality based crime thrillers sprinkled with high drama quotient like Crime Patrol, which presents us the dark and stark world of crime or news channels that  clone India’s Most Wanted — made infamous by Suhaib Ilyasi. Sadly, these shows cannot be enjoyed by the whole family together. Who wants to watch a lot of blood and gore everyday anyway?

As a crime thriller junkie, I wish I could savour more Indian shows in this genre and watch our desi actors solve murders instead of just turning to American shows like Castle, Bones or re-runs of CSI: Special Victims Unit. We need more heroes like Karmchand and ACP Pradyuman instead of looking up to Dr Temperence Brennan, Elliot Stabler or Kate Beckett. I wait in hope.