Every now and then, a serial or psychopath killer emerges from the dark alleys and haunt the world with gruesome killings and their modus operandi. More recently, a serial killer in Madhya Pradesh murdered 6 people.
The accused, Shiv Prasad Dhurve, named ‘The Stoneman’, was arrested from Bhopal after 10 teams of Sagar police with 250 personnel were given the task of nabbing him. The accused was arrested on the basis of CCTV footage, a sketch and GPS tracking.
He has confessed to his crimes saying that he was on a mission to murder security guards who used to sleep during their duty hours. His modus operandi was to bludgeon the heads of his victims with a stone or a heavy blunt object.
Over centuries, there have been several serial killers such as Jack The Ripper, Ted Bundy, Charles Sobhraj and several others who have caught the fancy of filmmakers and storytellers.
The recently released Akshay Kumar-starrer Cuttputli, a remake of a Tamil film and now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, also tells the story of a serial killer who targets and brutally murders teenage school girls.
Unlike Shiv Prasad, who used to strike his victims out of the blue, the killer in Cuttputlli gets close to the girls after befriending them before eventually murdering them and disposing of their bodies in public places and leaving a signature to mock the law and order machinery over its inability to nab the killer.
Cuttputlli is the recent addition to the long list of serial killer narratives that Bollywood has dished out, but the following five have somehow lingered in people’s collective memory.
Kaun: First up, it’s this Urmila Matondkar-, Manoj Bajpayee-starrer psychological thriller. The film marks Ram Gopal Varma’s fifth Hindi film and brings together the mighty team of ‘Satya’ with Urmila, Manoj and Sushant Singh headlining the film with ‘Satya’ co-writer Anurag Kashyap penning the script and RGV at the helm of affairs.
The film tells the story of a mentally disturbed serial killer, who lures people in the house before eventually murdering them. Anurag Kashyap, who is known for his lightning fast writing speed and handwritten scripts, had written the film overnight, which was shot over a span of 15 days.
Murder 2: The sequel of the 2004 hit film ‘Murder’, follows a serial killer who murders young sex workers. The film stars Emraan Hashmi, Jacqueline Fernandez as leads and Prashant Narayanan as the antagonist, who has a pattern of torturing and murdering young women.
The Stoneman Murders: Next up, we have the 2009 neo-noir crime thrilller ‘The Stoneman Murders’ starring Kay Kay Menon and Arbaaz Khan, which is based on real life incident of Stoneman serial killings that rocked the Mumbai, then Bombay of the 1980s.
The mystery killer, who was never caught, found his targets in footpath dwellers in Mumbai. They were stoned to death in their sleep much like how Shiv Prasad did recently. The movie weaves fiction and reality and is the first feature length film by Manish Gupta, who later on went to direct ‘Rahasya’ based on Arushi Talvar murder case.
Ek Villain: The 2014 runaway hit starred Shraddha Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra and Riteish Deshmukh. The film follows the serial killer Rakesh Mahadkar played by Riteish, who murders women who talk rudely to him. The film draws its story from the vengeance of Sidharth Malhotra’s character after his wife, Aisha, played by Kapoor is murdered by Rakesh.
Raman Raghav 2.0: The final film on this list is directed by the master of dungeons: Anurag Kashyap, who has a penchant for on-screen violence, much like one of his favourite filmmakers: Quentin Tarantino.
The Nawazuddin Siddiqui- and Vicky Kaushal-starrer is by far Kashyap’s darkest film and tells the story of a serial killer played by Nawaz and a cop played by Vicky. Despite being on the opposite ends of the social spectrum, the two share many similarities.
Premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, it is inspired by real-life killer Raman Raghav, who operated in Mumbai during the 1960s.
The failure of Kashyap’s ‘Bombay Velvet’ led to financing vows for the filmmaker, who abandoned the idea of setting the film in the present day and age. Unlike other on-screen serial killers on the list, ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’ doesn’t follow a set pattern of victims or modus operandi.
Directed by Ranjit M. Tewari, Cuttputlli stars Akshay Kumar, Rakul Preet Singh, Chandrachur Singh, and Sargun Mehta. The psychological crime thriller film premiered on Disney+ Hotstar on 2 September 2022.