Anand Swarnakar In ‘Dahaad,’ Explained: Why Did He Kill Innocent Women?

There is no dearth of serial killer stories in real life or in the form of movies and television shows. In the Hindi cinema space itself, many movies and television shows have attempted to talk about the menace of serial killers. The last memorable one was Raman Raghav by Anurag Kashyap. But this time, Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti’s Dahaad is interested in talking about a serial killer who lives like a common man amongst the population. He has a family and a regular job teaching Hindi at a local college. But behind his facade, there is a serial killer who manages to lure women and kill them when he knows they trust him. Anand Swarnakar is that man.


From the trailer and the beginning of the show as well, we get to see Anand, the man who is leading a very regular life as a college lecturer teaching Hindi, and in his free time, he also runs a mobile library to teach kids from the remotest part of Rajasthan Hindi. Mandawa is a sleepy town, and the man is aware of this town through and through; there is nothing about this place he doesn’t know. He is surrounded by people who know him, and that is his biggest advantage. His ability to fool people who know him, with them never suspecting him of carrying out such heinous acts of crime. There is a level of calmness in him that allows him to perform his deeds with utmost ease. Even as a husband and a father, he is making sure that the other life that he is leading and that version of him never comes out in front of his wife, his kid, his brother, and his father. But as his other life takes center stage, Anand here is a con man who carefully chooses his target and allows himself to get closer to the woman. The closer the woman gets, the easier it becomes for him to trap her and bring her to his side. The man is so confident in his skills that he can talk to many women at once without getting confused or lines getting crossed. This is the level of calmness on which he functions; this is what helps him be the man that he is. The regular college professor is not the real Anand. The real Anand is a man who gets a woman to fall in love with him, scams them out of their gold, and kills them. He does all of this without leaving the slightest trail or any evidence. The man is a genius, and he knows it. His maneuver has been the same for many years, as per the police at the end of the show, and he did not get caught all this time until finally, he did.

Anand was not aware of the police closing in on him and discovering a pattern. Many women from Mandawa and surrounding towns go missing, and around 29 women are found dead. Anand’s MO has been identified. But it was his son’s curiosity that led to him being a suspect. Even with the police trying to find a shred of evidence on him, this did not stop Anand from pursuing the existing plan of trapping women. Once he knew the police were closer than he thought, he made the mistake of planting evidence against his brother Shiva, and the police were quick to arrest Shiva for the murder of 29 women. The police were sure there was something odd about this, and a statement given by one of Anand’s survivors sealed the deal. Once Anand knew the police had named him the number one prime suspect, he freaked out but did not stop making sane decisions. He misled the police and ran off to Mumbai and from there to Goa. In Goa, he again gets married to another woman, and with her as a backup, he starts working on his MO again. A serial killer, at every point, becomes overconfident and thinks there is no way law and order will catch up with him. His stint in Goa was the end of his ruse, and it’s where he was caught. It seems like Zoya and Reema wanted to mirror the arrest of Anand to the real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who was also caught in Goa. But why did Anand become a serial killer? Is there a childhood trauma or an inborn trait in him that nobody noticed?


The police themselves had questioned Shiva about his brother’s life. Shiva was the younger one, and he claimed to have never had a close bond with his elder brother. Shiva reveals that their mother’s death had a severe impact on Anand as a young teen, and ever since then, something in the boy has changed. Anand reveals that his mother’s death was not an accident; his father was the one who killed her by pushing her off the stairs. This proves that Anand has grown up seeing domestic violence, and his father’s violence toward his mother led to her death. This violence surely had an impact on the young boy growing up, and there was no closure for him on why his father was abusive to his mother. The fact that there was nobody who could tell him what was right or wrong in this scenario, and his father being in denial of the fact that he killed his children’s mother, left a deep scar. This probably pushed him to pursue violence as his only way to channel his emotions. The man probably hates his father for killing his mother, but deep down, because he never got closure, he assumed his mother was at fault. The human brain works in a twisted manner, and there are many deep-down triggers of memories and events that lead the human being to behave a certain way.

As said by Professor Ansari in the show, the pattern and the way this man lives his life is a classic case of a serial killer. The man would hide his real identity from the public, and his or her actual image in front of the world is of a man who is decent and approachable. Anand does come across as a calmer man with a good demeanor when Devilal Singh meets him for the first time. The fact that he wants to remain in the good books of the people while carrying out these crimes shows traits of a murderous man who will not stop at anything. Anand’s life can be a case study because the moment he is arrested, the man showcases his real self and his opinion of the women he killed. He strongly believes the women he killed had it coming for not remaining behind the boundary of their homes and the deep-rooted patriarchal culture, which had been set for their good and safety. Since they crossed it, it would be ideal to kill them because women such as them are immoral, and they can never dream of being equal to a man. In the rampant patriarchal setup that he was raised in, women like his mother were beaten to death, and there was constant talk of caste. All of these are bound to affect any man, woman, or child. Anand’s past and his mindset cannot justify the acts he committed. Anand was always in the wrong, and nothing he could do to redeem himself would change the fact that he killed 29 innocent women whose only mistake was that they trusted and fell in love with him.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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