Crime takes over

code red, colors tv

code red, colors tv

Several channels are making their presence felt by launching reality-based crime shows. Sony Entertainment and Colors are following in the footsteps of English GECs where crime shows rule prime time.  SANGEETA YADAV speaks with channel heads and production houses who talk about this new wave on the small screen

She was a professional who was street smart and ambitious. Wanting to earn more and work with an MNC abroad, Ishita Bhatia (name changed) and her husband (Gaurav Bhatia) decided to leave the country on a fake passport. However, she soon realised that not all was hunky dory — she had been trapped in a sex racket. Mental trauma, repeated rapes and sexual abuse became a part of her life. But Ishita is not alone. There was several women like her who are lured into the world of glamour only to fall prey to the world of crime from where very few manage to escape.

To address the issue of human entrapment, suicide and violence against women and children, Colors has come up with the show based on real life cases.

“The overriding theme of the show is that one has to fight one’s own demons. While we struggle with problems related to relationship, finances, infrastructure on the outside, there are people who are fighting clinical depression, going through a heartbreak but have no guidance. This sets the ground for crime — either against someone else or themselves. The idea is to create awareness,” Anupama Mandloi, MD, Fremantlemedia India, tells you adding that Code Red goes on air on January 19 from Monday to Saturday at 10.30 pm.

Hosted by Sakshi Tanwar who has been always voiced her concern on various societal and crime related issues through Saavdhaan India, Code Red will have three special series —Umeed (prevention of suicide), Awaaz (breaking the silence) and Chakravyuh (human entrapment). To deal with these series, three production houses have been roped in —FremantleMedia, Sun Shine Rise Productions and Optimystix India Pvt Ltd and Shlok Entertainment LLP.

Mandloi says that the number of suicides is the highest and an issue that is sensitive.

“The idea is to learn from the suicide survivors and give the viewers a sense of relatability. The series with dramatised episodes aims to send out hope to people who are suicidal,” Mandloi says.

The trend of real-life crime shows started with Crime Patrol back in 2003 on Sony Entertainment television. Shows like Gumrah: End of Innocence (based on juvenile crime) in 2012,Emotional Atyachar (2009) (crime of passion), Savdhaan India-India Fights Back in 2012 (State-wise crime stories), Shaitan-A Criminal Mind (psyche of the criminals), Halla Bol (crime against women) soon followed. While they were all based on real-life cases, the aim was to to delve into the reasoning that led people enter the world of crime.

Bhanwar, based on real life court cases talks about how one can’t escape the long hands of the law.

“There are so many people who look up to the legal system for justice. To show the right path of justice in an entertaining way is what we aim to show through our show,” Ajay Bhalwankar, chief creative director, Sony Entertainment Television, tells you.

Having done Savdhaan India- India fights back series, Addalat and many other mythological and occult shows, Abhimanyu Singh, CEO, Contiloe Productions, who has been roped in for Bhanwar, feels that with every show, he has tried to invent the genre through innovation and creativity.

“There have been some big criminals and an interesting story about how they were finally caught. Through Bhanwar, we want to show that crime doesn’t pay and it is important that our viewers know what is the end if one commits a crime,” Singh tells you.

So, unlike fiction crime shows on the small screen, Bhanwar will have a serious take on the judicial system and seek to build faith of the people in the judicial system of the country.

“We are very careful that we don’t show content in order to sensationalise to garner more TRPs. Before we put the show on the floor, we researched for over six months. The criteria for picking a case was how the survivor fought back. You’ll find many interesting elements of emotions people go through during the trial period. The behind the courtroom stories have so far been unexplored on television. It is our attempt to bring something new,” Bhalwankar says.

With the rising banquet of crime-based shows on the Indian television that has managed to grab the audience, showmakers and channels are leaving no stone unturn to showcase slice of life entertainment to the viewers.

“Crime genre is here to stay but networks earlier had not dabbled too much in this genre for various reasons. One of them was the the money aspect. Many brands initially didn’t want to be associated with a crime show but now they have no such problem. The revenues are becoming more balanced now and the consumer still wants to crime watch crime-related shows. Therefore, there is cent per cent rise in crime shows on TV,” Singh tells you.

The fact that crime as a genre is different from daily soap is an added advantage.

“The drama in real life is more interesting and relatable than the daily soap that one sees. The daily soap follow a  set pattern to portray the saas-bahu relationship. Most of the daily soap showcases situations that don’t play out in real life. Reality-based shows will give out a message and provide entertainment,” Singh says.

(The article was published in The Pioneer Newspaper –



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