India’s Growing Obsession With Indian True Crime Series
Indian Viewer’s Latest Entertainment Obsession: Deriving Pleasure from The Darkness Of The Human Mind Through The True Crime Genre  

Here’s our reccos for riveting Indian docuseries—old and new—if you’re truly intrigued by gruesome gore (hopefully, only on-screen.)

India’s burgeoning appetite for on-screen violence has seemingly translated to on-screen successes such as A House of Secrets…, The Big Shots—Dosa King,Crime Kahaniyan, and the like across streaming platforms and even critic circles, punctuated with a ‘Best Drama’ International Emmy for the 2019 drama series, Delhi Crime. 


While it’s tough to decipher what exactly makes the unsettling genre tick among young Indians and rank on top of India’s streaming charts, the young desi janta’s conscious efforts to sit up and take a deeper look at unsettling emotions and psychological conditions could be one of the many reasons for shows such as Indian Predator shooting to the top of Netflix’s most-watched list. It’s also interesting to note that true crime docuseries initially found their footing in India after foreign shows like The Jinx, Making A Murderer, and Inside Job witnessed a surprising peak in viewership within hours of their release.  


If the dark side of the human mind and its disturbing subtleties continue to intrigue you, here’s a list of the latest true crime docuseries worth watching: 


My Daughter Joined A Cult  


Documenting the country’s inane obsession with godmen, 2022’s My Daughter Joined A Cult traces the deplorable atrocities that became a way of life in the once-revered ashram of Swami Nithyananda — India’s famous sadhu-in-hiding. The three-part docuseries is peppered with explosive snippets, including news footage, triggering episodes on habitual physical, sexual, and mental trauma inflicted on ex-devotees, as well as traumatizing revelations by journalists that trace the dizzying highs and abysmal lows of the Karnataka-based godman. The controversial show sprouted after Nithyananda’s social media manager Sarah Landry and Jordan Lozada embarked on a rather bold mission — to expose the sinister side of the swami to his wide-eyed followers. A riveting tell-all, My Daughter… is a gripping series that promises to keep you on the edge of your seat.  


Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi  



Netflix’s Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi traces the bodies of work of two of India’s most notorious serial killers. These are Chandrakant Jha (a seasoned killer who rose to infamy for throwing severed bodies of his victims to provoke police authorities at the Tihar Jail) and Raja Kolander (an alleged cannibal who feasted on the body parts of his slain victims), both portrayed across two instalments.  


In season one, Jha’s gruesome crimes — three murders carried out between 2003 and 2007 — brings the psyche of a distraught migrant worker, grappling under extreme poverty in the Capital, to the fore. The show’s second instalment centres on Kolander and his exploits, including the murder of journalist Dhirendra Singh and 13 others. 


Special 26  


On March 19, 1997, a group of 26 conmen barged into the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri & Sons in Mumbai. Posing as CBI officers, the miscreants executed a fake income tax raid and made off with assets to the tune of Rs 30 lakh, sparking nationwide fury, chaos, and bewilderment. About two decades later in 2016, Akshay Kumar’s Special 26 brought the controversial case to cinema screens. Directed and written by Neeraj Pandey, this film features actors like Jimmy Shergill, Kajal Aggarwal, Divya Dutta, Kishor Kadam and Rajesh Sharma in pivotal roles.  


Image Caption: Following a successful box office run, a South remake, Surya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, was also produced. 


Operation Black Tornado  


As the title suggests, Operation Black Tornado traces a defence operation that was carried out on November 29, 2008, to neutralize the terrorists at the Taj Mahal Palace after all venues hijacked by the terrorists were secured by the Mumbai Police Force. While the Mumbai Police Force and The National Security Guards emerged successful in their mission, India lost Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who was martyred in the process of rescuing large group of hostages at The Taj Mahal Palace hotel on a fateful evening. 




Gnawing details of the controversial Aarushi Talwar murder reverberated across national news channels in 2008, evoking unsettling feelings among viewers from different corners of the country. In 2015, the traumatic incident made it to the silver screen as writer Vishal Bhardwaj and director Meghna Gulzar joined forces to conjure up Talvar. The cast featured actors like Irrfan Khan, Konkana Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Tabu, and Gajraj Rao. The film followed the case from three perspectives; one from the deceased’s parents’ angle, one from the lens of the CBI’s probe and one another from an alternate investigating committee. Talvar was screened at various international film festivals before its India release on October 2015.   


Bad Boy Billionaires: India 


The final episode, featuring Satyam ex-CEO Ramalinga Raju, had to be cut due to legal injunctions 


This docuseries traces the fall of four of India’s defamed business tycoons and how their decadent ways of being came crashing down after massive fraud cases came to light. The fabulous lives of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy, and Ramalinga Raju get mired in controversy, and abysmal lows follow. The first episode, directed by Dylan Mohan Gray, sheds light on Kingfisher’s owner Vijay Mallya, and his lofty ambitions, and the untoward turn they eventually take.  


The following episode traces the life of Nirav Modi and his jewellery empire. Helmed by director Johanna Hamilton, the episode captures the mighty fall of Modi, and how he ends up under intensive media and legal scrutiny after a massive CBI investigation. 


The third episode is based on the financial fraud of the Sahara Group owner Subrata Roy. This episode deep dives into how this firm allegedly duped investors into investing in a pyramid scheme.   


Delhi Crime  


Season 1 became the first Indian web series to receive an Emmy nomination 


True to its title, Delhi Crime profiles some of the Capital’s most heinous crimes across two instalments. Written and directed by Richie Mehta, season 1 stars Shefali Shah in the lead, and centres on the gut-wrenching 2012 gang rape and murder, the details of which sent shockwaves across the country. After 8 years of relentless probes and nationwide outrage, the convicts were executed by hanging on March 20, 2020. 


Directed by Tanuj Chopra; Shah plays a protagonist yet again in season 2, who now embarks on a mission to bust the Chaddi Baniyan gang, who carry out heinous crimes in a planned fashion across the country — attempting to rob victims while only wearing undergarments, and resorting to cold-blooded murders upon being resisted. This series also focuses on a spate of recent murders of senior citizens in Delhi. 


House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths   


The 2018 mass suicide of 11 members of the Chundawat family at their residence in North Delhi has been one of the most disturbing crimes that India has witnessed in recent years. While varied perspectives continue to pick apart the mystery, House Of Secrets aims to take a deeper look at what could’ve really transpired. Directed by Leena Yadav, the 2021 show saw the light of the day after Yadav collated deeper insights from a bunch of policemen and journalists, and decided to bring it to OTT screens. 


This web series also serves as a gnawing reminder to check on your mental health and of those around you, which sadly went unchecked in the case of the family’s youngest son, Lalit — an alleged occultist who guided his family towards unnatural deaths for the sake of connecting to his late father. 

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