- Geeta Pandey
- BBC News, Delhi
Shakere Khalili was “rich and handsome” and came from one of the most aristocratic families in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. But in 1991, the rich heiress disappeared without a trace, and she suddenly disappeared.
For three years, her second husband, Murali Manohar Mishra – better known as Swami Shradhananda – made fantastic stories about her whereabouts.
In 1994, her remains were discovered after they were found under the courtyard of the couple’s luxury home in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore). Shakere was drugged, placed in a wooden box, and buried alive..
In 2003, a court found Shradhananda guilty of murder and sentenced him to death, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Courts have recognized that the marriage was followed by Shaker for property and assets worth crores of rupees.
During the appeals process, the Supreme Court called the case “one man’s worst greed combined with the evil of the devil,” but commuted his sentence to life imprisonment “without the possibility of commutation.” Last week, it refused to consider his parole request on the same occasion.
The sensational crime that shocked India 30 years ago is the subject of a new web show streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video service. “Dance on the grave” (“Dance About grave”)Named after the dance parties Shradhananda is said to have organized in the courtyard where his wife was buried.
Filmmaker Chandini Ahlawat Tabas of Indian production company Today Originals Productions explains that the “what, how and why” surrounding this crime still seems unbelievable.
“Even after 30 years, we felt it was a crime because it remains a mystery even today,” he adds.
Although the series about the murder and the killer does not answer all the questions, it is fascinating and It has attracted a lot of attention in India.
“Lovely and loving”
The first two episodes of the four-part series explore Shakere’s life.
She was the granddaughter of Sir Mirza Ismail, a veteran statesman who served as Diwan (or Prime Minister) of the principalities of Mysore, Bangalore, Jaipur and Hyderabad, and was famous for building many historical buildings and monuments. Shakare married a dashing diplomat Akbar Khalili She was also a mother to four girls.
Her family members describe her as “a lovely spirited person” who “loved vintage cars, very social, very warm and loving.”
But in the mid-1980s, he met Shradhananda and his career took a drastic turn.
Imran Qureshi from BBC Hindi Service who was working in BBC then.Times of India In Bangalore and featured in the documentary series, “The murder shocked people because the way she was killed, she was buried alive.”
He notes that crime also “became a topic of conversation after Chakre divorced her first husband and married someone like Shradhananda”.
In the newspaper scenes of that time, Shradhananda He hails from a poor family who abandoned his studies, is described as a “false teacher” and a “wrong boy”. He ingratiated himself with Shakere by “helping her settle some property matters” and “exploited her delusion of bearing a child by claiming to have magical powers.”
After their 1986 wedding, the relationship quickly began to unravel The two quarreled frequently, mainly over money mattersShradhananda conspired to execute his wife in that gruesome manner.
But despite being found guilty by a total of eight judges, including the trial court, the High Court and the Supreme Court of India, his lawyer insists that the evidence against him is circumstantial. Shradhananda himself appears in the web series and has denied any wrongdoing.
Some have questioned the show because it gives a platform to a convicted murderer, but Bombay-based British filmmaker Patrick Graham, who co-wrote and directed “Dancing on the Grave,” supports the decision to give Shradhananda’s version more screen time.
“We haven’t heard from him in the last 30 years. And he gave us valuable insights into Shakare’s personality.
Graham explains with his team as they visit the prison He wanted to know how someone like Shakare could have been so influential Shradhananda.
“But we also initially fell under his influence and believed there were more levels to this story, although by the time we finished talking to him we had no doubt of his guilt.”
“They went out of their way to create the impression that he wanted to intimidate this small, frail, old man. But as we learned more about the story and interacted with him more, we realized he had an agenda. Manipulating, he weaves a story”.
“The more time we spent with him, the more it became clear to us that his feelings weren’t genuine, and eventually we tried to have a difficult conversation with him,” says Graham.
And, he says, the result A “diatribe” Shradhananda In it he “insisted that he was innocent and that he was ill-treated”..
In most true-crime series, the culprit is projected to be “a genius,” Graham says.
“But it was clear that I didn’t want to do that. Naturally, Shradhananda had certain gifts, one of which was making people believe in him,” he adds.
But in the end, he could not convince the Indian courts of his innocence.
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