The kidnapping of Snapdeal employee Dipti Sarna had the police flummoxed and the whole country gripped. Days after Dipti returned home unharmed and set free by her abductors, police was left confounded about questions in the case.
Why would the abductors let Dipti go? Was someone who knew her involved? How did the criminals know her likes and dislikes so well?
The answers, strangely, were revealed by Darr, the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer where the star was obsessed by Juhi Chawla’s character to the extent of kidnapping and killing. The man who has been detained by the police said he took inspiration from the 1993 film to follow Dipti for 14 months before staging her kidnapping. He had first seen Dipti in Delhi Metro.
This is not an unusual case. Earlier also, people have been inspired by films to stage real-life crimes. Here are five such examples…
Fight Club (1999)
A New York teenager launched his own Project Mayhem after being inspired by David Fincher’s classic. Kyle Shaw set off a bomb made out of fireworks, a plastic bottle, and electrical tape outside a Starbucks outlet in 2009. In 2010, Shaw pled guilty to attempted arson and attempted criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to jail and probation.
Munna Bhai MBBS (2003)
This film proved to be a milestone for exam hall cheats. Copying Munna Bhai’s modus operandi of getting answers of exam paper on Bluetooth and through SMS, a group of cheats in Delhi leaked Combined Higher Secondary Level (10+2) examination in 2013. The gang included a Delhi Police sub-inspector who would SMS answers to candidates in lieu of lakhs.
In a similar case in Chandigarh, two dentists and a MBBS student were arrested for an alleged conspiracy to leak All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) answer sheets in 2015. Police also recovered undergarments in which microphones and mobile chips were installed to help the students with answers.
Robbers made a hole in the floor of Chelembra Bank in Kerala in 2007 and got away with gold and money worth Rs 8 crore. When the criminals were arrested, the mastermind revealed he was inspired by John Abraham-starrer Dhoom and used the same modus operandi as the film to break into the bank while used a New Year event as smokescreen.
Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006)
A palatial Sainik Farm residence in Delhi worth crores was sold off for Rs 78 lakh keeping Khosla ka Ghosla as the MO. A Delhi Police sub inspector also colluded in the crime. The crime unravelled when the woman who was cheated approached the then police commissioner.
Oye Lucky Lucky Oye! (2008)
This film was based on a real-life criminal, Bunty, and ended up inspiring another one. One Israr stole 180 cars within a year using the same technique as Abhay Deol in the film. He would steal cars on demand, using the latest technology so that nothing could be traced back to him.
The Town (2010)
Ben Affleck’s film inspired an Illinois couple to try their own real-life heist. Just like the film, they got a nun’s habit, ghulish rubber masks, a big bag and some guns. They , a couple of semi-automatics and you’re golden. They robbed a Chicago bank and walked away with $120,000. The police soon crashed their party and a bank employee and her boyfriend had to serve time.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
James Holmes entered a theatre showing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and started shooting indiscriminately after allegedly shouting, “I am Joker”. Twelve people were shot dead and over 70 injured. He had also dyed his hair red in an allusion to the Batman villain. His defence counsel has denied the claim.
Special 26 (2013)
The con film Special 26 inspired eight people in Mumbai to pose as Income Tax officers and raid a businessman’s house. They left with Rs 1.5 crore worth of cash and valuables, just like Akshay Kumar film. The police followed the criminals and watched the film to arrest them. More than 15 such con jobs were inspired by this film all across India.