Sheena murder mystery: Why crime by rich is different

Sheena murder mystery: Why crime by rich is different
Sheena Bora. (Photo courtesy: Sheena Bora's Facebook page.)

The Indrani Mukherjea case is bound to become the Next Big Thing across televisions channels, newspaper headlines and online forums.



Published: Thu 27 Aug 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 30 Aug 2015, 10:21 AM

Yesterday, India was rocked by the unravelling of a sensational murder that took place three years ago. The story had all the ingredients to make it the stuff of nonstop replays on television channels: an extremely high-profile dramatis personae (the murder 'mastermind' happens to be the wife of one of the best-known media honchos in the country); a grisly murder (made murkier because it involves a mother killing off a daughter); insidious twists in the tale with startling revelations cropping up every minute; starring components of greed, corruption and sex. the list goes on.
After the grotesque Aarushi double murder case in 2008 - that pointed its finger of suspicion at the parents, a well-known doctor couple with a flourishing practice in New Delhi, and that has spawned books and movies in its wake - the Indrani Mukherjea case is bound to become the Next Big Thing across televisions channels, newspaper headlines and online forums.
There is something extra about 'People Like Them' crimes that make them go beyond an open-and-shut case jurisdiction. The OJ Simpson trial - where the American sports star was convicted of murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend - did to OJ what his career couldn't do: put him in the annals of history as spearheading perhaps the most keenly followed murder trial ever. Again, the 'crime of passion' ingredients were pretty similar, and the whole world was hooked (though most of them were probably not even knowledgeable about American football, in which OJ had made his mark), watching every move of a heavily televised chase and trial.
So what is it then that gives people like us the vicarious pleasure of observing the "falls" of people like them? It's not really celebrity thraldom; it's a sense of wonder how the 'gilded' world they ostensibly inhabit - full of riches, world tours, marketing ploys and publicised relationships - can turn out to be so fake.


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