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2017: How crimes in Gurgaon inspired feature, short films


Gurgaon is called the Millennium City for its corporate culture, high-rises, and nightlife — that has been reflected in Bollywood films such as Tamasha (2015), Piku (2015), and Bewakoofiyaan (2014), to name a few. 
In 2017, however, it’s the crime scene of Gurgaon (Haryana) that formed the backdrop of cinema — both short films and full-length features — and even literature. So, here’s how gender biases, sexual harassment, honour killing and other monstrosities inspired filmmakers and authors to reflect on the life of Gurgaon.
‘Crime is real’
Shanker Raman’s noir thriller Gurgaon presented a dark, mean world with deep-rooted gender issues in a family living in Gurgaon. “Crime is real. It’s something that is happening all around us. [With the film Gurgaon] I was interested in exploring crimes against women, and how deep does it go, and where does it come from. If you explore deeper into crimes against women, you’ll encounter a very harsh system of patriarchy. If she [women] were to be independent, and create something independently, then it would be seen as an odd thing. It’ll be accepted or snuffed out,” says Raman.
‘Gurgaon has a dark side, which we tend to ignore’
A duo from the Millennium City — Harsh Vardhan Wig and Ishan Piplani — made a short film titled Gurugram, which is a 45-minute revenge drama based on crimes against women. Shot in places such as the Phase 1 underpass, Sector 29, and a police station in Faridabad, it’s aimed at highlighting the safety concerns in Gurgaon. “We want our city to be safe for women. Through our film, we want to spread the message that a woman shouldn’t be taken for granted. If she decides to fight back, there’s no stopping her,” says Piplani.
The duo was inspired by many real life crime incidents that are reported in Gurgaon, almost everyday. “Gurgaon is growing at a rapid pace, but also has a dark side, which we tend to ignore. From a gang war at MG Road to cases of eve-teasing, rape and murder, unfortunately [all] these have become part and parcel of Gurgaon,” says Wig, actor-producer of the film.
‘Exposing the simmering brutality’
“I came to know of a girl who was electrocuted by her family for being in love. The image stayed in my head,” says Rahul Dahiya, director of the film, G Kutta Se (G — A Wanton Heart). This heart-wrenching incident in his mother’s village, motivated Dahiya to make this film and explore themes of freedom of choice, gender equality, and sexual psyche of society.
The movie, set in Haryana, drew narratives from the director’s personal experiences. “I wanted to explore how your loved ones can turn against you, and even kill you for a feeling like that. I made this film to expose the hypocrisy surrounding sex, and the simmering brutality even in our so-called prosperous villages. The reason is always linked to the family’s honour,” says Dahiya, who was based out of Gurgaon till 2005, and later shifted to Mumbai.
Gurgaon-based author Debeshi Gooptu’s book, Gurgaon Diaries, is a by-product of her 5-year blog on life in the Millennium City. This work of fiction traces the authors journey in the city, for the past 19 years, taking inspiration from real life crime incidences. “Twenty years ago, it [Gurgaon] was a completely different place. Despite the fact that it’s a prosperous economic hub, the increased pace of development has created a lot of restlessness and unhappiness. Along with the race to do well, living in bigger houses, and owning bigger cars, the rat race has contributed to emotional instability and depression.”
The author says her description of crime disturbed her psyche, too. “I wrote about an incident of a washerman whose daughter was raped and killed. The rich say that the migrant labourers are the ones who commit crimes. But, the migrant labourers are also the ones at the receiving end,” says Gooptu, whose last book Ghosts of Gurugram also highlighted the dowry-related deaths in the city.