Psychologists from around the world have long debated what goes through a serial killer’s mind. Initially, the general public was unaware of terms like “psychopath” or “serial killer,” but I suppose that Alfred Hitchcock was the first to do so in popular media with his 1960 picture “Psycho.” In addition, there was a surge in true crime tales centered on such maniacs shortly after the 1980s. However, I think the topic is still relatively new for a nation like India, partly because we don’t yet have a dedicated study division for these crimes and also because talking about mental health isn’t really our thing. One such serial killer with psychotic tendencies is Anand Swarnakar, who is skillfully portrayed by Vijay Varma in Prime Video’s “sDahaad.”
After watching Dahaad Season 1, we couldn’t help but notice Anand Swarnakar’s striking resemblance to Mohan Kumar Vivekanand, well known as Cyanide Mohan in the media. Mohan used to provide cyanide-coated pills to his victims, who were mainly unmarried women from disadvantaged backgrounds, which is why the character has such a label. Mohan used to deftly convince them to take the cyanide-laced birth control tablets to prevent pregnancy after spending the night with them in a hotel room. We suspect that the majority of these ladies may not have had the required knowledge, which prevented them from challenging the man and made them easy prey. Mohan, like Anand, persuaded these women to take the pills in a public restroom since they could vomit as a result of the medicines’ side effects, and regrettably they never questioned his motives. The location was important because a victim’s dead corpse was discovered in a public restroom both in the television show and in real life.
However, Mohan and Anand Swarnakar shared more similarities than just the murder weapon they both used. The sole distinction between Mohan and Anand is that Mohan taught physical education in a primary school whereas Anand taught Hindi in a women’s college. Because the majority of the Prime Video programs are set in Rajasthan, although Mohan was born in Karnataka and used to prey on victims there, the creators of Dahaad have similarly shifted the location of their nemesis. According to the claims, Mohan used to impersonate different people to fool his victims into thinking he belonged to the same caste, religion, and name. We are all aware of how crucial caste and religion are in a nation like India, particularly when it comes to marrying a foreigner. However, Mohan was never a stranger to his victims; before making a marriage proposal to them, he would spend enough time getting to know them. Mohan used to approach women at bus stops or in public areas and attempt to strike up a conversation with them, much like the series. If he had a favorable response, he wouldn’t hesitate to make friends with them.
The fact that Mohan and Anand used to target women in their late 20s who were having trouble finding appropriate husbands because their parents had neglected to pay a dowry for their marriage was another significant connection between their situations. We saw that Anand pretended to be just interested in spending a lifetime with his victims, making the women think that he wasn’t like every other man who was attempting to marry them for the dowry. Dowry played a significant role in most of these cases. He would cleverly persuade them, though, that they required the money or jewels in order to start a new life. The bodies of his victims were left behind after Anand stole those gems and vanished. On the other side, the parents of these victims were ashamed that their daughter had fled the house, therefore in order to spare themselves further disgrace, they decided never to file a missing person’s report, which aided their murderer.
If we compare the two cases’ sources of cyanide, Anand’s family was either a chemist or a jeweler, as shown in the series. Anand had ready access to the hazardous chemical, which he used to steal from his brother’s store, and these jewelers frequently use it to clean or purify the gold. Mohan, on the other hand, used to pose as a goldsmith in order to purchase the chemical from several stores. It is crucial to remember that Mohan worked in the early 2000s, when such substances were easily accessible and the government hadn’t put in place the required restrictions. The makers of Dahaad addressed this dilemma by giving Anand’s brother the occupation of a jeweler. In contrast to Dahaad, where we were instantly reminded through a scene that one needed to have authorized permission to obtain cyanide.
The fact that the authorities discovered a lead in the case when they began tracking down the victims’ phone numbers and discovered that the numbers were active is another intriguing similarity between the two psychopaths. In Dahaad, Episode 2, Jawed Lohar reported to the police that although the phone number was registered in his name, his sister, who had been missing for six months, had been using it. From that point on, a number of cases involving missing women came to light. We must question why the writer of the fake series didn’t bother notifying the viewers about it given the resemblance in how the real and fictional instances were examined.
Although we don’t know much about the crimes committed by Mohan, who was also involved in bank fraud, we could speculate that Anand committed a similar crime in the Dahaad series. In an old workshop, he used to melt the gold jewelry he had taken from his victims before selling it to the Meghwal tribe for cash. In order to avoid being found, Anand took a circuitous way to dispose of the gems. So that no one would ever suspect him, he would later deposit the money in a bank account under a phony name.
The final topic we’d like to cover is the motivation behind Anand Swarnakar’s past thefts from defenseless ladies. His early experience, in which he saw his own mother killed, was the primary contributor to his mental instability. Anand’s father had humiliatingly instructed him to never speak the truth to anyone and to keep his mouth shut. We comprehend how traumatized he must have been for all of these years, unable to talk about the atrocities he had personally observed. This episode undoubtedly had a negative impact on his mental health, and he began to lead a double life.
Professor Z. Ansari, a retired criminologist, claimed that Anand was a textbook illustration of a psychopath who detested women. He also made the assumption that Anand may have had a passive-aggressive personality and preferred to avoid active involvement in acts of violence. We think that Anand’s inability to express himself later in life stemmed from being forced to suppress his rage. He nevertheless discovered a fresh way to communicate it by penalizing any innocent woman who was open to speaking with strangers. He would use cyanide to kill them in order to complete his duty because he felt that these women didn’t deserve to live.
However, there is no proof of such a terrible event that changed Mohan’s life. According to the Indian Express article, Mohan’s father left him when he was just 14 years old, and it’s possible that not having a father figure in his childhood had an effect on him psychologically. However, we were unable to identify the precise trigger that led to such psychopathic tendencies in either Anand’s or Mohan’s cases. But in my opinion, if the authors had attempted to provide some context for their opponent rather than taking a true tale as their only inspiration, they might have had an explanation for us.
Finally, Mohan was charged with the murder of 20 women; interestingly, the number in the Prime Video Series was similar. By the end of Dahaad Season 1, Anand had murdered around 29 women. What startled us even more was the fact that many of the series’ sequences were inspired by the true story of Cyanide Mohan, although though it wasn’t explicitly stated. No matter if it was deliberate or not, adding any credits wouldn’t have diminished the showrunners’ efforts.