Teen Spirit

GUMRAH
CHANNEL V
Sunday, 7 pm
Rating: HHH

What's it about?

In 2004, an MMS caused a nationwide scandal. A pornographic video involving two underage students from an elite Delhi school, became material for news as soon as it hit the internet. Suddenly, the Indian teenagers were in the line of fire. Ever since, many MMS scandals have come and gone and teen crime has become a subject in itself. After a little less than a decade, a TV channel has decided to pick up this glaring issue and dwell on the topic. Channel V's Gumrah is a reality show with a difference — the stories are real but are enacted for the viewers. The first episode is based on the infamous MMS scandal and the second one is about the gangrape of a 16-year-old by her friends at a party. The show aims to unravel why so many gangrapes, murders, hit-and-run cases, drug abuse and MMS scandals in India are being committed by minors.

Who's in it?

Television's chocolate boy Karan Kundra is the anchor for the show and, for once, it's his expressions that keep the cameras busy, rather than the sculpted body. He's sympathetic, serious and seems genuinely disturbed by the stories in the show. In the first episode, two young actors, Aanchal and Samridh, played the lead roles and did a good job of it. In the second episode, Ahsaas Channa of Phoonk fame plays the 16-year-old protagonist. Every episode has a different set of performers enacting the crimes.

What's hot?

The show is haunting, which works in its favour. There is a strong connect because every scene has a sense of deja vu. At the same time, it's not a show that rides high on sensationalism — the makers attempt to explain how factors like peer pressure, ego, jealousy, revenge and sex play huge roles in driving the teenagers to commit these crimes. Gumrah tracks down how a particular incident happened and the series of events related to it — how and why the MMS was made, how it reached the boy's friends, how the word spread and finally how the media got a whiff of it. The show is well-paced, like any good crime show should be. The background score is contemporary and dark and songs such as Pehla Nasha and Love, Sex aur Dhokha have been used appropriately.

What's not?

Unfortunately, Gumrah is not free from certain clichés — be it media bashing (on reportage) or the portrayal of police officers on the show,who are depicted as crude, abusive and insensitive. There is some drama too — black-and-white photo montages and certain slow-motion sequences.

Should you be watching it?

It's a must-watch show — it highlights an issue that plagues our society. Most importantly, it lacks the unintentional humour of shows such as CID and Crime Patrol.

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