POD MIRROR

True Crime

Cover art of Sashi Kumar’s podcast ‘Death, Lies & Cyanide’, a Spotify exclusive | Photo Credit: Spotify

Photograph taken from newsminute : Jolly is on the extreme right in a red dress.

Four years ago a podcast series Trial by Error, based on Avirook Sen’s book on the Aarushi Talwar murder case was among India’s first true crime podcast--all in (8-part) series-- presented by investigative journalist Nishita Jha. It was an Arré-Saavn original production. It  modeled on Peabody award winning podcast series ‘Serial’ presented by Sarah Koenig in 2015.

 

Now a new blood curdling podcast series ‘Death, Lies and Cyanide’ on Spotify explores the errie story of Jolly Amma Joseph from Kozhikode whose alleged poison-imbibed murders took Kerala by storm. The podcast is produced by and follows the horror of why a 47-year-old mother allegedly poisoned and killed six members of her own family over 14 years.

 

The podcast chronicles Jolly’s 14-year silent murders (from 2002 to 2016), remained above suspicion, until the police blew the lid off the murders in October 2019. Jolly was convicted of six murders by cyanide, including that of her husband. The series was launched on September 7, 2020 and as we write this, the podcast has already entered its third episode. The podcast stretches over 10 episodes, flips through 3,000 the page chargesheet against Jolly.

 

The podcast series is written by Ramesh Ravindranath and narrated by senior journalist Sashi Kumar, who is careful in pointing out that the podcast remains open-ended, does not intend to demonise anyone and most of all leaves room for the listener to ponder. Sashi describes the chargesheet as a cinema screenplay consisting of lies, deceit, blackmail, sex , politics, killings and even an attempted suicide in prison.

 

It is a story, according to Sashi that erodes trust in people that no fiction can and can deeply affect the collective conscious of the nation. Sashi started his career as a film journalist, was also The Hindu’s first West Asia correspondent in the mid-1980s. The 68-year-old is a big believer in “the sound of journalism” having been a radio journalist for many years. But podcasting — “a huge new dimension,” as he describes it — is a new horizon he is excited to conquer.

 

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