Drishyam, directed by Jeethu Joseph, blew up at the box office in Kerala in 2013 and spawned remakes in many languages. However, the storyline of the film, in which a guy successfully makes a corpse vanish after his family inadvertently kills him, has often inspired amateur criminal minds.
The most recent case occurred six months ago in Thiruvananthapuram when a lady was strangled to death. According to reports, the Kerala police have solved the murder and arrested Prem Kumar, the deceased’s 40-year-old husband, and his girlfriend Sunitha Baby.
Prem Kumar confessed to the police that, to start a new life with his girlfriend Sunitha, the two of them killed his wife Vidya and then buried their tracks by drawing “inspiration” from the 2013 Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam, directed by Jeethu Joseph.
A police official from Ernakulam’s Udayamperoor police station told TNM that the 40-year-old accused has always been a top suspect in Vidya’s murder investigation. However, it took three months for the investigation team to confirm their suspicions and arrest him on Monday.
This is far from the first murder in Kerala to be inspired by Jeethu’s blockbuster film about the “perfect crime.” Several killings have occurred in the state over the years, with the accused trying to conceal or destroy evidence in the Drishyam manner. While the fictitious Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and his family may have concocted intricate watertight alibis to deceive the authorities, the Kerala police have caught many of these Drishyam-style killers with relative ease, with Prem Kumar reportedly being the most recent on the list.
Drishyam-style cover of his songs
Prem and his girlfriend, Sunitha Baby, according to the police, killed Vidya on September 21 at a villa near Thiruvananthapuram. They reportedly invited her to a secluded house in the capital, gave her wine, and then strangled her to death after she was drunk.
The corpse was then reportedly dumped in a wooded region in Vallioor village in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, by the pair.
“Prem filed a missing report at the Udayamperur police station on September 23, two days after Vidya’s death,” a station official informed TNM. According to sources, Prem also informed the police that he thought Vidya, a Cherthala native who had been living with him in Udayamperoor for the last several years, had gone to Goa to see her son from a previous marriage who was studying there, to throw them off his trail.
Prem and Sunitha allegedly switched on Vidya’s phone and left it inside a waste bin on the Netravati Express, which runs between Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai, similar to the scene in the film where Georgekutty switches on Varun’s phone and throws it into a moving truck to avoid being tracked down by the police right away.
The phone of the dead was tracked to Mangaluru by the Udayamperoor police, who said Prem admitted to throwing it away on the train.
The 40-year-old reportedly murdered to be with his high school love, Sunitha Baby, whom he met three years ago at a Thiruvananthapuram school reunion. Sunitha left her husband, three children, and a nursing career at a hospital in Hyderabad after meeting after 25 years and moved to Thiruvananthapuram within a few months. The two then shared a leased flat in the city, according to the police.
Prem intended to ‘eliminate’ any impediment in the path of his new life with Sunitha, thus he chose to kill Vidya, who was residing in Udayamperoor at the time, according to the officer.
The two were apprehended by the Udayamperoor police from their rented flat in Thiruvananthapuram.
Sections 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 202 (intentional omission to give information about an offence), 364 (kidnapping or abducting to murder), and 34 (acts committed by several people in furtherance of a common objective) of the IPC have been used to charge them.
“The deceased’s corpse was found with the assistance of the Tirunelveli police, who disposed of it according to protocol,” the official said.
Drishyam was also responsible for several other crimes.
Madhu, a resident of Thakazhi in Alappuzha district, was found dead in a well near his home in October 2017. The police detained two guys, Mobin and Linto, for the murder after a six-month investigation. According to their police admissions, the first accused, Mobin, had seen Drishyam 17 times before disposing of his corpse and concealing the evidence. In April 2017, Mobin and Linto reportedly strangled Madhu to death and dumped his corpse in a pond following a drunken fight. According to accounts, they then took part in the inquiry into Madhu’s murder as well as Madhu’s burial.
Four Ernakulam men were arrested in July for killing a 20-year-old guy called Arjun and deceiving the police by tampering with evidence. The accused, according to sources, took a page from Drishyam and threw the deceased’s phone into a moving vehicle. The corpse, which was bound with stones, was discovered 18 days later in a marsh in Nettoor, and the four men were apprehended.
Drishyam’s Hindi and Tamil remakes have also sparked criminal activity in other areas. A shocking murder case involving the death of a lady was solved by the UP police in Rajkot in March 2019. The five suspects, including a local BJP official, had buried the corpse of a dog and circulated news that a human body had been buried in the location, inspired by the Ajay Devgn version. The woman’s corpse, however, was discovered in an under-construction structure in the area by the police.
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