Crime shows on TV: Infotainment with responsibility
Mumbai: Crime shows on the small screen have been under the scanner for giving the people all wrong ideas. But the makers of such shows claim their aim is to create awareness, while clinical psychologists argue that there would be no negative impact as viewers are warned of the consequences of wrongdoing.
Sony has two crime-based shows - long running fiction-based ‘CID’ and reality-based ‘Crime Patrol’.
‘Gumrah’, a show focussing on real life teen crimes, is shown on Channel V and Star Plus, whereas Life Ok`s ‘Saavdhan India’ too is about real-life crime sagas.
Most of the shows deal with violence and blood. The sheer brutality often makes it tough to watch them.
The aim of TV shows is to warn and inform people about crime, say the makers, adding that the effectiveness depends on how it is perceived by the viewers.
"CID" director BP Singh told reporters: "It cannot be denied. It depends upon how it (violence) is being shown. If it`s too much in your face or if people are being told how exactly something happened, someone might pick up the idea. We have to keep this in mind. This is why in `CID`, we never show on-screen murders or anything like that. This is because it`s a family show."
According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports, 241,986 violent crimes took place in the country in 2010.
Sometimes delayed or denied justice angers people or they are compelled by revenge or anger. People have various reasons for committing a crime.
TV actor Gaurav Chopra, who is co-hosting ‘Savdhan India’ on Life Ok, says usually people avoid taking help of the police.
"I keep wondering why people don`t call the police. No one wants to go to the police. They feel it will get worse," he said.
He claims that the platform, which his show provides, is sensitive and can help in preventing crime.
As the number of crime reality shows on TV has gone up, one wonders whether the channels are running them to boost TRPs.
Karan Kundra, host of teen crime reality show ‘Gumraah’, said: "We are not here to make attempts on the TRP market. It (`Gumraah`) is a very real show. We look at real cases. We are not here to tell you that this crime happened. We are not to gossip here. We are trying to show why things happened."
"We show how a bully became a bully. We go in-depth by talking to psychoanalysts and people who were involved with the case and try to get in-depth analysis. We try to show the background and what must have led to these things."
Reporters spoke to Neha Patel, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, about the impact of such shows on people.
She emphasized on the fact that the main thing is for people to "realize" what is going on.
"I have come across youngsters who have watched these shows and said we never thought this could happen. Basic awareness about consequences is important. People feel that this cannot happen to us. A show like `Gumraah` is trying to say that you enjoy your life, but keep it balanced.
"Crime shows do not mean that people start indulging in crime. The consequences are shown, which is important. If it has to have a negative impact and someone has to indulge in crime, then it will happen regardless of what they watch. People should wake up and realise that things are anyways happening and they should be aware of them," Patel added.
Not everyone is against such shows. Some feel crime shows help them in their lives.
For instance, media professional Reet Sahiba diligently watches such shows and feels it prepares her to deal with the worst.
"When people get to know about crimes through news or newspapers, they don`t tend to pay much attention to it. Probably they forget about it or they don`t relate to it. But when they see a replay of the whole crime, it somehow gets etched in their minds. There are many infotainment shows; so if people can watch those, then why not these? These shows give us a clear picture of crime we may have to deal with," said Sahiba.