Curry & Cyandie: The Jolly Joseph Case (2023) Movie Script

[wind gusting]
[birds chirping]
[radio static]
This could have been any house in Kerala,
but what unfolded within its confines
was something unheard of.
[ominous music]
[radio host] Today in Koodathayi,
during the quiet hours of the morning,
while most in town were still sleeping,
Jolly Joseph, a respected local mother,
was taken into custody in a case
which has sent shockwaves
through all of India.
Present at the time of her arrest
was her son, Remo.
[Remo] She was arrested
early in the morning.
My brother and I were the only
family members present at that time.
[tense music]
The police team suddenly showed up.
A police officer, uh...
A police officer named Jeevan
and two other female officers
arrived to make the arrest.
[indistinct chatter]
They said they had come to take her away,
that she was being taken into custody.
And we were in a state of shock.
I mean, we were completely stunned
with what was happening.
We didn't know what to do.
Because until now, we had always been
under the impression
that our family members have died
because of natural causes.
[Remo] And for a long time,
we didn't believe
what they were saying about my mother.
And now, I'll never be able to accept
this person as my mother again.
[anchorman 1] A shocking story
is emerging out of Koodathayi,
a sleepy village
in Kozhikode district of north Kerala.
[anchorman 2] Jolly Joseph
has been arrested for allegedly
killing her mother-in-law, father-in-law,
husband, and three others
over a period of 14 years
without raising anyone's suspicions.
[anchorwoman 1]
In a first for Kerala police,
the mortal remains of the six victims
are being exhumed
from their graves on the same day.
[anchorman 3] And the mastermind behind
it all is a woman named Jolly Joseph.
Who was this person Jolly?
How was she able to commit six murders
without her family or neighbors
suspecting anything?
[anchorman 4]
Jolly, the prime accused in this case,
was a faculty
at the National Institute of Technology.
As long as I know, uh, she had
a good connection with the church also.
[anchorwoman 2] Many find it hard
to believe that a woman,
known to be family-oriented,
well-respected, and liked,
could be a cold-blooded killer.
[tense music]
[knife rasps]
[dramatic music]
[piano playing]
I am K.G. Simon, IPS.
Now retired.
I've devoted 37 years of my life
to working as a police officer.
I was the District Police Superintendent
in Kollam back in 2019,
and then I was transferred
to Kozhikode Rural District
as the Superintendent of Police.
During my time in Kozhikode,
a report from the Thamarassery DYSP
was brought to me.
The report referred to the death
of a person named
Roy Thomas of the Ponnamattam family.
He had died there in 2011.
The Ponnamattam family
was a prominent family in Koodathayi.
The eldest son was Roy Thomas.
The report was based on a complaint
filed by Roy's sister,
Renji and his younger brother, Rojo.
The report clearly stated that Roy's death
was caused by cyanide poisoning.
But it didn't say where he got
the cyanide from or how he consumed it,
nor did it mention any difficulties
Roy might have had,
that led him to commit suicide.
After I read the report,
I decided to get involved
in the Koodathayi case.
This marked the beginning
of the investigation into Roy's death.
[siren blaring]
As for my first meeting
with the accused Jolly Joseph,
it took place at the crime branch office.
It was only after she was arrested
and taken into custody
that I actually started questioning her.
[ominous sting]
[typewriter clacking]
[foreboding music]
It was very difficult at first
because she wouldn't say anything.
[foreboding music continues]
It was only after showing her
all the evidence that she started to talk.
She confessed everything.
[reporters clamoring]
[K.G. Simon] All I can say is we have been
investigating this for two months.
We have questioned at least 200 people.
And no one knew about this.
Our investigation and, uh...
uh, all the evidence points
to the accused,
a woman named Jolly Joseph.
Further investigations are still on.
Is she cooperating with the police, sir?
Has she been cooperative so far?
To answer your questions,
yes, she has been cooperative.
[reporters clamoring]
[man] Confessions that are made
in police custody,
cannot be taken at face value.
The person probably said things
under duress
so we cannot accept it as the truth.
Therefore, it can never be used
as evidence against the accused.
Whether the prosecution team
uses it as evidence,
or the defense team uses it,
this kind of confession
will have absolutely no validity in court.
[B.A. Aloor] But the crimes mentioned
in the charge sheet did not really happen.
The most important thing Jolly said to me
during our first interaction was,
"I did not commit this crime."
[anchorman] This story has absolutely
exploded across India.
Kerala, a region known for its high levels
of education and employment,
is now in the headlines
for this bizarre tragedy.
[inquisitive music]
Everything changed after the story broke.
Koodathayi was thronged by a lot
of people, who were mere spectators.
Almost every day for a month,
reporters were camping outside
the Ponnamattam home.
In fact, I am, uh,
one such reporter, you know,
who actually camped out.
[Nikhila] There were a lot of neighbors
who were very upset about Jolly.
And there were contradicting takes
on who she was.
Some would say
that she was very, uh, good.
Others would say that,
"No, but she always had
this dark side to her."
She was always friendly
and cordial with everyone,
and, uh, she was a very kind person.
In fact, they never saw Jolly
ill-treat anyone.
[man] Jolly must have had
some psychological problems.
Like some kind of mental disability.
[anchorman] Now, our sources suggest
that she was, in fact, connected
to a sex racket.
[all yelling, catcalling]
[Nikhila] I heard people making catcalls
around that time,
saying that, you know,
"Kattappana, Kattappana."
And, uh, she's "high range,
high range," you know.
So I realized that
because of the place
that she came from, Kattappana,
the fact that it was from the high ranges,
uh, a hilly terrain...
All these things were actually posed
as some sort of a bad thing against her.
I felt like most reports,
uh, were trying to showcase
the most salacious aspects of the story.
No one seemed to be asking
the most important questions.
Who was Jolly Joseph
and what made her do the things
that she allegedly did?
And I think that was one of the reasons
why I felt that I should do a story
about, uh, Jolly Joseph.
I'll go to, uh, Kattappana
and see where did Jolly grow up.
[mysterious music]
And after speaking to Jolly's family
in Kattappana, I came to understand.
Jolly's family is actually
a family of farmers.
She was really not comfortable
being in a house where people
were expected to do work for a living.
[inquisitive music]
She was flamboyant.
She wanted to live a cool life.
I think that was there when
Jolly decided to get married to Roy
because the Ponnamattam family is a very
established family in Koodathayi.
Uh, this is a family which is settled in
a different part of the state altogether,
a different culture and everything, so...
getting married into a,
a family of employed people
could mean
a different lifestyle altogether.
Maybe she would have
the kind of luxury which she had wanted.
[ominous music]
[man] As children,
we grew up in the same circumstances
and conditions
as any other normal family would.
My elder brother, sister and I.
[woman] Rojo, myself,
and the neighborhood kids,
we were a big gang
and we would play together all the time.
[Renji] But in those days, my eldest
brother, Roy, was a bit introverted.
He wasn't interested in coming out
and playing with us.
There was an age difference of six
and a half years between Roy and me.
So I always regarded him
with a lot of respect
and, of course, I was also
a little scared of him.
[mysterious music]
My mother was a teacher
in a nearby school.
By that time, almost all the children
in our village had been taught by her.
My father worked
in the education department,
which is why he was highly respected
and influential in the community.
A lot of importance
was given to education in our family.
A few years later, when Roy
was studying for his pre-degree,
uh, Rojo, who was a very
mischievous kid at the time,
came and told me something
that took me totally by surprise.
Rojo came and told me
that he had found a letter
and that it was addressed to Roy,
it was from someone called Jolly,
and it looked like
some kind of a love letter.
[poignant music]
[Rojo] I opened the letter and read it,
and I immediately understood what it was.
Jolly Joseph of Kattappana
had sent the letter.
[Renji] The very first time I met Jolly,
we were at my Uncle Mathew Manchadiyil's
housewarming ceremony.
Jolly happens to be the daughter
of my Uncle Manchadiyil Mathew's
wife's brother.
Um, she was a lot shorter than I expected
and I noticed her
because of her high-heeled sandals.
People didn't wear high heels
very often in those days, but Jolly did.
Back then, when youngsters
liked each other,
they would exchange such letters.
They didn't have any other means
of communication.
So it was through these love letters
that their relationship grew.
Roy finally admitted that he was in love.
He made it very clear
that he was serious about her.
My father did not approve
of this relationship.
The main reason for his disapproval
was that she was related to the family.
Jolly told everyone
she was a qualified professional,
that she received a Master's degree
in Commerce with 50% marks.
On hearing this, my mother said,
"That's good,
once Jolly comes here to live with us,
she can always pursue her career.
And since she has studied commerce,
it will be easy for her
to get a good job."
So my mother was already thinking
along those lines.
She wanted them to settle down
as soon as possible.
[ominous music]
[Renji] I remember it was raining
throughout the wedding.
Now, people look back on that day
and say that the rain was a bad omen.
A sign of bad things to come.
My father wasn't happy at all.
He seemed quite upset about the marriage
even during the wedding ceremony.
I remember noticing that he was
avoiding her as much as possible.
[ominous music]
[Rojo] This was
the first wedding in the family,
so naturally,
there was a lot of excitement.
We never imagined that this marriage
would be such a disaster.
[radio static]
[anchorman] Seventeen years ago,
Jolly Joseph married Roy
and moved here to Koodathayi
and into the home
of Tom and Annamma Thomas.
This well-respected family
welcomed her with open arms,
which makes what Jolly did in this house
all the more shocking.
[foreboding music]
[woman] The Ponnamattam house
is right in front of ours,
so we are next-door neighbors.
I first met Jolly when she got married
and moved here.
She was very warm and friendly,
she always had a smile
and a kind word for everyone.
She always used to ask how we are doing.
She was very popular around here.
She was the star of the neighborhood.
That's all she was.
[mysterious music]
[Renji] Since they were newlyweds, they
were invited to lunch by the neighbors.
They were welcomed into my father
and my mother's circle of friends
and by our extended family.
And gradually over time,
Jolly managed to carve out
a place for herself
within our family and also our community.
[Renji] Roy would leave
for work every morning.
So Jolly would be free all day.
She learned how to cook
and take care of the house.
She also liked to cook traditional food.
We would go out
to eat together at restaurants,
we would wander around the city.
We would also go shopping together.
Um, Jolly was crazy about shopping,
especially when it came to jewelry.
Jolly seemed very happy.
But then my mother said,
"You shouldn't sit idle at home,
especially with your qualifications.
You should get a job and settle down.
Once you start working and supporting Roy
by earning a good living,
then both husband and wife
can share life's burdens equally."
I would tell my mother that,
"Amma, let her make her own decisions."
[foreboding music]
[woman] Jolly Joseph's mother-in-law came
from a completely different background
and culture.
When a mother-in-law says
that an educated girl
should not sit idle at home,
then that's a...
very healthy outlook, you know.
It's a very good perspective
for a woman to have.
But where Jolly was concerned,
it was a lot of pressure.
[C.S. Chandrika] Some young women
don't want to go out and get a job.
They prefer to stay at home.
And then, it turned out she was pregnant,
she was pregnant with Remo.
So my mother dropped the whole issue.
[calm sting]
[typewriter clacking]
[Remo] The house
in Ponnamattam, Koodathayi
is where I was born and raised.
I have a very strong attachment
to that place
because I spent a lot part
of my life there.
I was the first child in the family.
I got all the love and attention
that the first child usually does.
[serene music]
Our family was very large.
And I remembered us
being a very happy family.
[Renji] After Remo was born,
my mother raised the issue again.
She tried to reassure Jolly saying,
"You can go to work now, Jolly,
I'll take care of the baby."
She said, "You don't have to worry,
he'll be fine with us."
Because Jolly was so qualified,
she wanted her to get a good job
and be set for life.
My mother said this repeatedly.
[poignant music]
[K.G. Simon] What I learned
from my investigation,
is that ever since Jolly married
into that family,
she'd been claiming that she had
a Master's degree in Commerce.
She admitted to me, uh, this degree...
"This degree that I created in my name
was the greatest mistake I ever made
in my entire life."
[ominous music]
She told me that her mother-in-law,
Annamma Thomas had no idea
that Jolly did not have
these education qualifications.
Annamma was always telling Jolly,
"You have such high qualifications,
why aren't you trying to get a job,
why aren't you going out and working?"
So there was a lot of arguments
about this in the family.
And when this issue intensified,
Jolly's father decided to visit her.
Jolly knew that Annamma
would speak to her father
about her getting a job.
She also knew
that when Annamma brought up this issue,
her father would say that Jolly
does not have such qualifications
and Jolly's lies would be exposed.
[tense music rising]
[dark music]
[upbeat music]
[indistinct chatter]
[Rojo] We were all sitting down
having a nice breakfast in the morning.
My elder brother
was playing loud music upstairs.
[upbeat music continues]
[Renji] I had a clear view
of the dining room
from where I was in the kitchen.
[upbeat music
playing on radio continues]
I was busy making chicken curry.
[faint upbeat music]
I saw my mother pick up a glass of water
and carry it away.
I still remember that after about
20 minutes, I got a nagging feeling,
"I better check on Amma,
I better check on Amma."
That thought kept running in my mind.
[ominous music]
When I got there,
I saw my mother sitting on the bed
with her legs stretched out,
leaning against the window.
She had tears in her eyes. So I asked her,
"What happened? What's wrong?"
She said, "I'm going to die.
Call everyone."
[Renji] I rushed and shut off
the electricity fuse.
[music stops]
[Renji speaks Malayalam]
[Rojo] I ran downstairs
to be by my mother's side.
She was lying on the bed
looking terrified.
All the blood had rushed upwards
and her face had gone bright red,
she said, "I can't breathe,
I think I'm gonna die."
So I told my brother
to call the doctor immediately.
[Renji] My mother's legs went up
like she was having a seizure,
her body began to convulse.
The doctor finally arrived.
He checked her pulse and told us
to take her to the hospital immediately.
[suspenseful music]
[Rojo] We rushed her to Omassery Hospital
in a jeep, it was going at full speed
with its headlights on.
I didn't even wait for the jeep to stop,
I rushed straight into the emergency ward
at the hospital.
I told the doctor, "Please do
whatever you can to save her."
They wheeled her inside quickly.
[eerie music]
Five minutes later,
the doctor said she was no more.
[somber music]
[Rojo] All of Koodathayi
mourned her death.
We were just devastated.
I could not get over my mother's death.
It consumed me mentally and physically.
My mind kept telling me
that she'll come back.
But, of course, she never came back.
[melancholic music]
At that time, we didn't have any
suspicions about our mother's death.
It looked like a hereditary stroke.
The circumstances
didn't raise any suspicions.
[male reporter] The first victim
was Annamma, who died in 2002.
Because she was a little old and she was
suffering from a lot of illnesses,
the family did not really insist
on a postmortem.
[B.A. Aloor] A suspicious death in 2002
was reported to the police
after a span of 18 years.
So tell me, what kind
of evidential value can it have now?
Yes, it is a fact that Jolly's
mother-in-law died a sudden death.
But there's no way to know
if it's a murder,
or let's say a heart attack,
or maybe a case of suicide?
It is completely up to the prosecution
to prove one of the three.
And I can tell you right now
that in Annamma's case,
the evidence they have
is simply not strong enough.
[foreboding music]
[Renji] After the funeral,
I noticed that Jolly had changed.
She had a complete different personality
from the one she had
before my mother's death.
Jolly took over all
of my mother's duties inside the house
and out in the community,
and she did it very well.
And just like my mother, Jolly became
the most important person in the family.
[foreboding music continues]
My mother had written in her diary
that she had deposited
some money in my name.
She had also left some gold jewelry
for me. I had no idea about it.
Then suddenly, Jolly tells me,
"Your mother wrote in her diary
that she's left
certain things for you, right?
Apart from those things,
you're not going to get
anything else from this property here."
But this behavior was only towards me.
Her behavior towards outsiders
and of course towards my father
was very different.
I always used to wonder that,
"Why does she treat me like this?
What has she got against me?"
Uh, like one morning,
someone asked me for something
and I handed it all like I usually do.
And Jolly immediately told me that,
"You can't give anyone things from this
house without asking for my permission."
She literally told me, "You can't do
anything without asking me first."
I couldn't tell my father
what was going on.
I couldn't tell him that Jolly
was mentally torturing me.
I couldn't tell him because he was going
through a very traumatic time himself.
A few days later,
Jolly came up to me and said,
"I have decided, I'm not going to work.
Someone needs to be at home
and I have to take care of your father.
I can't go off
and leave the family like that."
I think this was always the plan.
That once my mother was gone,
Jolly would take over.
And that's exactly what happened.
[eerie music]
[C.S. Chandrika]
With the death of her mother-in-law,
Jolly assumed the role of the matriarch.
As the authoritative figure
in the Ponnamattam family,
she'd relish the respect and attention
she received from everyone.
And in fact, uh, she must have desired it.
It's probably something she always wanted.
Jolly Joseph must have thought
that by taking her mother-in-law's place,
her family, her relatives,
and her entire community
would now see her
as a very important person.
Jolly soon realized one thing.
That my mother had a reputation
as a teacher.
She had the love and respect
of the whole community.
So if Jolly wanted the same respect,
she would have to go
and get a teacher's job.
[thrilling music]
[Rojo] One day, when I called my father,
he gave me a surprising news.
He said Jolly had got a job
as a guest lecturer at NIT.
My father said, "It's a good thing
because it's not far from our house."
And even though
she's a guest lecturer now,
she could be made permanent later.
When I asked him what her salary would be,
he said, "She mentioned 40,000 a month."
[Remo] I was very young
when she got the job at NIT.
And NIT is a very large institution.
They have a canteen where we would go
and have a meal together
and then come back home.
[tense music]
Once she got the job, she earned
a great deal of respect
among the people of Koodathayi.
She was always given a special preference
because she was a lecturer at NIT.
People in the community
were very impressed
with how humble and pleasant she was.
How she easily mingled with everyone
being an NIT lecturer.
OF TECHNOLOGY, CALICU[C.S. Chandrika] When you tell people
you're a professor at NIT,
they always go, "Wow."
You immediately earned their respect.
Especially since
Jolly's background shows that
she was born and raised
in a family of farmers.
It was a big achievement for a girl
from a farming family to come this far.
This was when Jolly had finally earned
the respect of the whole family,
my mother's family and my father's family.
[Renji] When relatives visited our home,
Jolly would always welcome them
very warmly.
She enjoyed playing the hostess,
cooking their favorite meals, et cetera.
I remember very often
when guests were present,
Jolly would bring my father's shirts
and put them on the ironing table
which was just below the stairs.
That way, everyone could see her
ironing his clothes.
I got married in 2005,
and then I moved to Colombo
with my husband.
In April 2007, my father came over
for a one-month visit.
Then in 2008, he came to visit us again
and stayed for a month.
That's when I noticed that he was looking
very thin and unhealthy.
He wasn't his old self.
I had a feeling that he was mentally down
and that something was troubling him.
[K.G. Simon] Tom Thomas was upset
with Jolly Joseph
because M.S. Mathew had begun
to visit their home very often.
[foreboding music]
M.S. Mathew is the son
of Annamma's elder brother.
Mathew was working
as a salesman in a jewelry store.
And he had grown close to Jolly.
Tom Thomas had become aware
of Mathew's visits
and he confronted Jolly Joseph about this.
He asked her why Mathew
came home so often,
what was the purpose of his visits.
Jolly never gave any explanations,
she just made up excuses.
[Renji] It was then that my father
started opening up to me.
He said, "Jolly leaves the house
saying that she's going somewhere
and then I see her going somewhere else.
When I ask her about it,
she just beats around the bush.
And she's always in a corner
talking on the phone,
or she's out in the garden
with her phone."
My father was very upset.
He couldn't understand what was going on.
[tense music rising]
[dark music]
[K.G. Simon] Tom Thomas was in the habit
of having a capsule, uh,
after his evening coffee.
They were some sort of mushroom capsules.
[foreboding music]
That evening, it was Jolly
who handed Tom Thomas his capsule.
Thomas swallowed the capsule
and he immediately began to experience
some discomfort.
[heavy groaning]
[K.G. Simon] He suddenly became
unconscious and fell on the floor.
Very close to the washbasin.
But did Jolly make more attempts
to help her father-in-law?
She just quietly left the room.
[door creaks]
Then she called up a neighbor
who brought an auto rickshaw
and took him to the hospital.
[suspenseful music]
Tom Thomas died
before he could reach the hospital.
[foreboding music]
[Renji] They took too much time
to get my father to the hospital.
I asked them, "Why did it take so long?"
She said, "Renji, I couldn't find
the car keys, that's why it took so long."
[dark music]
[K.G. Simon] Everyone thought
that Roy's father's death
was caused by a heart attack.
By calling it a heart attack,
Jolly managed, uh, to prevent
an autopsy from being done
and his body was taken home.
[sinister music]
[Rojo] He was buried next to my mother.
While my father was being laid to rest,
I saw Jolly and M.S. Mathew
standing on one side,
having a private conversation.
So I asked my brother,
"What's going on between them?
Why are they standing separately,
whispering to each other?"
To which my brother replied,
"They've had some cash transactions.
It must be about that."
[menacing music]
[B.A. Aloor] When I went through
the second case in detail,
I found the evidence presented
to be very weak.
I mean, she told everyone
that her father-in-law
had suddenly died of a severe heart attack
and they just believed her.
And that's quite possible
that's what happened.
But why did the doctor believe her?
Wasn't it the doctor's job
to investigate whether
the patient had died of a heart attack?
What if there was any other reason
for his death?
Since when has medical science
relied on the statement of a mere witness
to determine the actual cause of death?
[male reporter] The next victim
in the case was Tom Thomas
who died in 2008.
There was a difference of six years
between the first two deaths in this case.
But because there was a huge gap
between the first and the second deaths,
or the murders in this case,
it was very difficult
for the family members
to assume something suspicious in this,
because there was nothing
unusual about it.
Because of the way this poison was used,
there wasn't any visible injuries
or visible... Or anything that would
suggest that this was a murder.
[Renji] I remember Jolly was crying
uncontrollably during the funeral,
especially towards the end
when the body
was being lowered into the grave.
But when we got back home that day,
she was back to being the same Jolly
she was after my mother died,
managing everything efficiently,
taking over everything.
[spoon clacking]
After my mother's death,
we already felt like
there wasn't much place
for us in that house.
Now with my father gone,
there was no place left at all.
[mysterious music]
[Ayisha] From the time I have known Jolly,
I had never been very close to her.
At the time of the deaths,
she called me over to that teak tree
and said that she had something
to tell me.
I asked her, "What is it?"
She said, "There will be three deaths
in this house."
She said, "The house and the land
are not in the right place
and that the well
is in the wrong place too.
For that, we need to build a wall
around the well
and the tree in front
needs to be cut down.
[ominous music]
If all these issues are resolved,
the deaths will stop."
I asked Jolly how she knew all this.
She said, "Our Priests and our Elders
have told me to do this."
I stopped talking to her.
I decided I wasn't going
to have any more contact
with any member of the Ponnamattam family.
You won't believe
I used to be so close to them,
they were like my family.
But now, I just avoid them. No contact.
[anchorman] After Tom and Annamma,
the next death in the Ponnamattam family
wouldn't occur for another two years,
which allowed Jolly the opportunity
to quell any suspicions about the deaths
and rebuild trust with her neighbors
and people in the town.
[Remo] After that,
our family became even smaller.
Then, when I was four or five years old,
studying in lower or upper kindergarten,
my mother, uh, became pregnant
with my brother.
[serene music]
I, uh, was very excited
when my younger brother was born.
The whole family celebrated his arrival.
After many years,
our family was happy again.
[poignant music]
We had some wonderful moments
and we were a happy family
for quite a long time.
But gradually, as I grew older,
I began to understand more about
what was happening in the family.
I could see the issues
that were happening in the house.
When we were younger,
we weren't really bothered
about all these kinds of problems,
we didn't pay much attention.
But as time went on, we gradually began
to grow a little apart,
meaning distance from my mother,
even my father and she
had started to grow apart.
[somber music]
It was really sad
that as if everyone had split up,
with each one living in a different corner
of the house,
it felt lonely.
My mother always seemed to be busy,
saying she had some paper evaluations
or college work or something.
She never had any time.
This meant me and my brother feel like
we didn't have a place
in her life anymore.
[foreboding music]
[K.G. Simon] Then it turned out
that Roy's business was in trouble,
it was not doing as well
as he had expected.
They had run out of money.
Roy didn't have any other means of income
and this became a problem towards the end.
[dark music]
[Renji] A few days before the incident,
Rojo told me that Jolly had called
to say that she was thinking
of getting a divorce.
She said that Roy wasn't taking good care
of the family and whatnot.
[crickets chirping]
Then one evening at the house,
while Rojo and I
were sitting in my father's room,
Roy suddenly walked in.
I saw that Roy had...
a photocopy of my father's will,
two pages.
He said that my father had left
the house and property
to Jolly and him in his will.
[tense music]
[Rojo] Renji immediately
took it from him and asked,
"Is this the will?"
It's not on a stamp paper
and there are no witness signatures on it.
[foreboding music]
[Renji] Suddenly,
there was pin-drop silence.
And then,
they both walked out of the room.
I just told Rojo,
"Keep this will with you."
[sinister music]
[Nikhila] I do think that there was
some sort of give-and-take
between Jolly and Roy as far as lies go.
Roy definitely knew some of her lies
because, uh, he himself
was part of those lies.
I think they had a fallout.
Uh, perhaps that is when the lies
started coming out.
And Jolly must have thought
that something has to be done about it.
Roy was fully aware
of Jolly's affair with Mathew.
He and Jolly had arguments about it.
[K.G. Simon] He started asking her angrily
about her relationship with Mathew,
and why she insisted
on continuing the affair.
Jolly must have thought it was pointless
to stay married to Roy.
[tense music rises]
[dark music]
[K.G. Simon] On 30th September 2011,
Jolly gave the children an early dinner
then she took them upstairs
and put them to sleep.
Then at 8:00, she came downstairs,
she went into the kitchen,
and prepared some rice and chickpea curry
for Roy's dinner.
[menacing music]
When Roy came home, he went upstairs
and jokingly asked the kids
if they were pretending to sleep.
Then he came downstairs, ate his dinner,
and began to feel uneasy.
He went straight to the bathroom.
[electricity crackling]
[dark music]
[Renji] She told me that Roy
had come home at around 3:00 p.m.
and he had rice and chickpea curry.
And then, he didn't eat anything
for the rest of the night.
When she went to make an omelet,
Roy was in the bathroom.
After frying the omelet, she went
and knocked on the bathroom door
but he didn't respond.
[ominous music]
[man] The day Roy died, I was sitting
right here when I got a call.
She said, "Roy isn't opening the door,"
and she asked me
if I could come over and help her.
I rushed to their house
and found Roy lying on the floor
and foam was coming out of his mouth.
Roy's uncle, Mathew,
had also arrived by then.
We picked him up
and rushed him to the hospital.
But they said his condition was critical
and that he was too far gone.
[phone rings]
[Renji] I got a call at 11 o'clock...
my brother Roy had passed away.
[somber music]
[Remo] We woke up and saw
the lights on in the house.
One of our relatives, an aunt,
was sitting beside us on the bed.
I looked at her half asleep,
and she said my father had slipped
and fallen in the bathroom
and that he had been taken
to the hospital.
So I quickly went downstairs
and saw my papa's framed photograph
on the table in the living room.
There were candles burning
and there were flowers arranged
all around the photograph.
That's when we finally realized
our father wasn't coming back.
[dark music]
[K.G. Simon] Their Uncle Mathew felt
that there was something suspicious
about Roy's death.
He insisted that a postmortem
be carried out on Roy.
Jolly argued that he's already gone.
Why is the need for a postmortem?
However, it was due
to Manchadiyil Mathew's insistence
that the case was taken up
and a postmortem was conducted.
[ominous music]
The report from the doctor
who conducted Roy's postmortem
very clearly states that Roy's death
was caused by the consumption of cyanide.
[sinister music]
[Rojo] Jolly told us that Roy had debts
amounting to lakhs of rupees.
And that's why he had committed suicide.
I blamed my brother for what happened.
I thought how could he kill himself
after going into so much debt?
[breathes shakily]
We were angry and disgusted with him.
I told Renji,
"He owes people lakhs of rupees.
How in God's name
are we going to repay it all?"
But no person came forward.
Till this very day, not a single person
has called Renji or me
to say that Roy
had borrowed any money from them.
[ominous music]
His own wife said
there was no need for an inquiry.
Then how could we push for it?
So we put it down in writing
that we had no doubts about his death.
[male journalist] After Roy's death,
three members of the same family
had died in eerily similar ways.
One has to wonder why the remaining
family members were not more alarmed,
why so many red flags
were missed at the time,
and why more could not have been done
to prevent the most shocking
and horrific deaths yet to come.
[foreboding music]
[man] I am the chief
of Poison Control Center
at Amrita Institute
of Medical Sciences in Kerala.
There is a toxicological dictum.
When you come across cyanide
in a case of death,
first suspect murder,
regardless of what anybody may say.
Relatives or the others around may say,
"This is accidental, this is suicide..."
But first, rule out murder.
Then you can latch on to suicide.
I'm surprised that, uh,
it did not strike the police.
[poignant music]
[B.A. Aloor] They knew about the cyanide
in the 2011 postmortem report.
Which makes one wonder that
why Manchadiyil Mathew
did not ask for further investigation?
Why didn't the siblings ask for it?
The substance that was mentioned
in the postmortem report,
why did the police let it go
and not investigate further?
Instead of conducting a thorough
investigation into Roy's death,
the police preferred to blame my client
Jolly for this murder.
[mysterious music]
[K.G. Simon] The truth is
the police completely overlooked
the suspect of the case
and therefore,
they failed to take any action.
When they went to Roy's house
to investigate,
Jolly must have told them
that this was a suicide
and asked them to leave the matter alone.
Normally, the police, uh...
would never expect the housewife
to commit such crimes
against her own family.
Especially this family.
That turned out to work in Jolly's favor.
[menacing music]
[Dr. Pillay] Cyanide is very hazardous,
everybody knows.
When cyanide attacks,
even if oxygen is present in the body,
it cannot be utilized by tissues,
that's how the person dies.
Generally speaking,
cyanide poisoning
can mimic a heart attack.
If a large quantity
has been administered or ingested,
or that is swallowed,
it will cause the same kind of collapse.
However, cyanide is almost impossible
to get by legitimate means in Kerala.
So anybody who wants cyanide
will have to get the license first.
For instance, goldsmiths use
salts of cyanide for polishing the metal.
Now, a person
who wants to kill may not have,
you know, the patience to go hunting
and get hold of cyanide.
As I said, it would be extremely difficult
for Jolly to acquire the cyanide.
So if she did,
how did she possibly get it?
Or who helped her get it?
[foreboding music]
[Remo] Losing our father
was very traumatic
as death was the greatest tragedy
of our lives.
The thing is, at that age,
it's really difficult to, you know,
open up to your friends about
your father's death and your feelings
and how hard it is for you to lose
your father at a young age.
We were losing everyone.
First, our grandmother,
then our grandfather,
and now we lost our father.
It was a time of constant grief and loss.
And then gradually, we adjusted to a life
where it was just the three of us
living together.
It was then that the real struggle began.
We had to face life's challenges
one after another
and figure out a way
to cope with everything.
[dark music]
[indistinct chatter]
[Rojo] When I went to the panchayat office
to pay the land tax,
I found that Jolly had started the process
of transferring the house
and property to her name.
Rojo immediately called
to tell me what had happened.
[Renji] I was shocked, I said,
"How can the ownership
be changed just like that?"
I asked Rojo to find out
what kind of document she had produced
to transfer the ownership to her name.
She had a fake will made.
[Renji] I saw that
this will included all the details
that I had said were missing
in the previous will.
The ownership that was initially
in the name of Tom Thomas
had been transferred to Roy Thomas,
and from there,
it had been transferred to Jolly Joseph.
This time there was a notary's signature
and all the stamps were in place.
[Renji] I had told Rojo long back to lock
the previous will away in his cupboard.
Luckily, he still had it.
I told him this one document
is enough to prove
that she's making a false claim.
Rojo said we have to put a stop to this.
We have to transfer the ownership
of the property back in our father's name.
We simply cannot allow Jolly
to illegally lay claim to this property.
We have to get it back somehow.
[Rojo] I called all the elders
of the family
and told them what was going on.
I showed them the previous will.
I told them, "This is the document
that was shown to us
just after our father passed away.
Now take a good look at this document,
did my father come back from the dead
and add all these details
to this new will?"
That's all I asked them.
[Rojo] I went back
to the panchayat office several times
and got everything transferred back
to my father's name.
For the sake of the children,
we didn't sue her then.
My brother had died just a year ago.
If she went to jail,
what would the children do?
[Rojo] So thinking about their future,
we forgave her
and allowed them to stay in that house.
[Renji] At that time,
my Uncle Mathew Manchadiyil
would call very often
and tell me about everything
that was going on.
And so, uh, Jolly began to realize
that Uncle Manchadiyil and I
shared a close rapport
and that we used to talk
to each other all the time,
sharing our thoughts,
and even discussing Jolly.
[Renji] He had always been
a bit suspicious of Jolly's behavior.
[K.G. Simon] So, on the day Roy died,
it was Manchadiyil Mathew
who insisted that Roy's body be sent
for the postmortem.
After the postmortem, Manchadiyil Mathew
would keep telling people,
"I don't know what it is,
but something's wrong.
How could Roy die suddenly like that?
Something is very fishy."
[K.G. Simon] But at the same time,
he kept in touch with Jolly, um,
and he was a frequent visitor
at her house.
And that's how he found out that Jolly
was having an affair with M.S. Mathew.
He warned Jolly, telling her
she shouldn't continue the affair
with Mathew, that it wasn't right.
Jolly didn't like his advice.
[tense music]
[Renji] One day, around 5:30 to 6:00
in the evening,
I suddenly got a call from Jolly.
"Kunjumon Achayan" was the name we had
for Uncle Manchadiyil.
She said, "Kunjumon Achayan is no more."
I said, "Kunjumon Achayan is dead?
I just spoke to him in the afternoon
not more than two hours ago."
"Yes, Renji, I brought him to the hospital
but he passed away.
In fact, I'm calling you
from the hospital."
[reporter 1]
In 2014 was when Mathew had died
under very similar circumstances as that
of the three people who died initially.
According to the police,
Mathew started becoming a threat to Jolly
and that is when Jolly decided
that Mathew should also be dead.
[B.A. Aloor] I haven't seen
any evidence to suggest
that Jolly Joseph administered
any kind of poisonous substance
to murder this person
named Mathew Manchadiyil.
no postmortem was conducted.
From what I understand,
there was some kind of rift
or disagreement
between Jolly and Mathew Manchadiyil
since 2011.
Now if that was really the case,
then Mathew Manchadiyil would have avoided
having any kind of contact with Jolly.
Instead, he maintained
a close relationship with her.
[horns honking]
[engines rumbling]
[K.G. Simon] When you look at all
six murders in total, you can see
that they've been committed
over a long span of 17 years,
from 2002 to 2019.
From Annamma Thomas's murder
down to the last murder,
the gap between each killing
keeps decreasing.
At first, there's a six-year gap,
then a five-year-gap,
and then it comes down to just two years.
[Dr. Pillay] That she took so many years
in between each murder
could have helped her
obfuscate her crimes.
The lady alleged
to have committed the crimes,
I think, did a lot of study
over a period of time
and became more and more perfect
as the time went by.
How to use the poison, how much to use it,
what situation to use it in.
But even though in this particular case,
the alleged perpetrator
did kill a number of people
over a period of time,
she is not the classical serial killer.
Because the motives,
they're completely different.
[Dr. Srivastav] Serial killers are anyone
who commits more than two murders
and, uh, they commit it
in between having cooling periods.
Uh, serial murders also have
a specific kind of signature
or a pattern that is followed.
[Dr. Srivastav]
As far as Jolly is concerned,
she tried her best to maintain
two versions of herself for so long,
doing what the society expects out of her.
But on the other hand, she is
allegedly planning murders,
committing these acts.
Whether we want to call her
a serial killer or not,
the only consistent thing
is the use of cyanide as poison,
but she also, um, seemed to have
a legitimate motive,
which is financial gain.
[C.S. Chandrika] She wanted to acquire
her husband's property
and her own family's property
which is understandable.
She dreamed of being well-off.
In fact,
she wanted all the comfort in life.
She wanted to make her life better,
you know.
To make it more... To make it more secure.
But to acquire that, she committed crimes
and she lost track of, uh, reality
and, uh, instead, she slowly slipped
into a world of, uh, fantasy,
which is very unfortunate.
[C.S. Chandrika] I see Jolly as a woman
who created a wall of her own,
an unrealistic wall,
where she felt she could do
whatever she wanted,
but her actions
had real-life consequences.
[radio static]
[journalist 1] Jolly's relentless pursuit
of the life she desired was unquenchable.
And with her options
more limited than before,
she began searching for a way forward.
[tense music]
[K.G. Simon] Jolly set her eyes on Shaju
as her second husband.
She told everyone that
if she had a husband like Shaju,
she would be a very happy woman.
[K.G. Simon] Shaju Zacharias
was Roy's first cousin.
Jolly was sure that Shaju would be able
to take care of all her needs.
He had a good job as a teacher
and was financially well-off.
And Jolly didn't want to have
any more responsibilities.
[Renji] I remember Jolly always
used to tell me.
"Sili is so lucky.
Shaju has a steady job.
She can take it easy.
She doesn't have to do much work at home,"
she always used to say this.
[K.G. Simon]
Shaju Zacharias had two children.
The elder child was Abel
and the little one was Alphine.
But for Jolly to marry Shaju,
she would have had to get rid of Sili.
She had already killed her husband,
her husband's mother and father,
and then his uncle,
and she'd got away with it.
And now she was planning the next one.
[K.G. Simon] On May 1st, 2014,
the family was celebrating
Abel's first Holy Communion.
Everyone had gathered
at Shaju Zacharias' house for lunch.
And just as everyone
was sitting down to eat,
Jolly and her kids walked in.
[Xavier] We were all invited
to the first Holy Communion,
and we were having a really good time.
We told Sili to come
and join us for lunch.
We invited her to come and sit with us
so we could eat together.
The four of us sat down at the table
and we asked them
to start serving the food to everyone.
[Remo] During this time,
Alphine's aunt was trying to feed her
while holding her in her arms.
And suddenly,
Alphine's body started jerking.
She fell forward
and she was pushing her aunt back.
It was like she was trying to jump
out of her aunt's arms.
Even though I was in shock,
I could clearly see
that Alphine's pupils were disappearing.
They were moving...
I mean her eyeballs were moving upwards.
[crowd clamoring]
[K.G. Simon] Everyone went running
towards the child.
There was complete panic.
No one knew what had happened.
When the child fell unconscious,
Sili got so upset, she went into shock.
[Xavier] They rushed her
to Omassery Hospital.
Uh, the doctors there said
her condition was critical
and they shifted her to, uh, a ventilator.
[tense music]
[radio static]
[journalist 2] At the time, the family
believed Alphine had choked
on the food her aunt was feeding her.
But to learn that a two-year-old child
had been poisoned was just horrific.
Jolly was not just a woman, but a mother.
How could someone with her background
callously murder a baby
and feel no remorse?
[Dr. Srivastav]
She was a two-year-old child.
That, you know, brings to question
the basic humanity of the person
who committed this.
Women are looked up to
as mothers, as nurturers, as caregivers.
And the fact that a woman
is capable of killing an innocent child
shatters that belief system
to the, uh, to the core.
[B.A. Aloor] Alphines case
has left everyone baffled
because why would Jolly kill
an innocent little child?
What could her motive possibly be?
I pushed her by repeatedly
asking her this question,
"Jolly, why would you want to
kill an innocent child?"
To my question, Jolly replied,
"Tell me what would I achieve by taking
the life of an innocent little child?
The child wouldn't have got in the way
of my marriage.
She was a minor."
[B.A. Aloor]
Even if she had killed the mother,
she could have gotten married
and brought up the little child.
Why kill the child when she could
easily take care of her?
That's why I strongly believe that
the truth behind this case
lies somewhere else.
[sirens blaring]
[K.G. Simon]
After Alphine's death in 2014,
Sili began to struggle.
She went into a severe mental depression.
It was during this time
that Jolly befriended Sili
and they became very close.
Jolly had taken the initiative.
[K.G. Simon]
Soon, Sili started telling Jolly
everything about her and Shaju.
She mentioned
that they wanted another child
and during one of these chats,
she just happened to mention
that they wanted another baby girl.
Then Jolly suddenly tells Sili,
"My father-in-law used to take
this particular capsule."
[tense music]
[K.G. Simon] Jolly persuaded Sili
to buy the mushroom capsules
saying that they are good
for her overall health.
And that they are particularly good
at providing relief
from fatigue and depression.
[tense music]
[reporter 1]
The last in this case was Sili,
who was Shaju's wife.
Shaju's wife actually died
while she was waiting at the reception
of a dental hospital or a dental clinic
in Thamarassery.
Shaju was also there, Sili was there,
and also Jolly was there.
Sili and Jolly were sitting outside,
in the visitor's... visitor's room.
Not really a room, but a hall of sorts.
They were waiting there.
[K.G. Simon] Now Jolly already had
a mushroom capsule ready
filled with cyanide.
She handed it to Sili and said,
"Take this mushroom capsule,
you'll feel better."
Sili believed her and took it.
As soon as she took it,
her body began to jerk.
She fell backwards almost immediately.
[indistinct chatter]
[Nikhila] After Sili passed away,
the doctors at this hospital
where Sili was admitted told me
that they had insisted on a postmortem.
So at that time,
Shaju outrightly refused a postmortem.
He said that postmortem is not required
and he said that postmortems
are not common in our families.
As a lawyer,
I have to wonder if it was actually
the 13th witness in this case, Shaju,
who really wanted to eliminate
his first wife Sili,
and his child Alphine.
As we investigate this case further,
we start to look at other evidence.
We can see another scenario
where Shaju is probably the one
who killed his wife and child,
so he could get married
to Jolly unhindered.
[birds screeching]
[Renji] Then I heard about Sili's death,
I made a point to go to her funeral.
Because I hadn't been able to visit
when she'd lost her child.
I felt like I must go this time.
When Jolly saw me arrive,
she came out of the house and said,
"Come in, Sili's body is inside."
I looked at Sili lying in her coffin.
I told Jolly she looked so beautiful
as if she's sleeping.
And she said, "Yes, Renji,
but what can be done?
It's just so unfortunate."
And then she said, "I'm going to get
her body ready for the next ritual."
And I said, "Yes, please carry on."
[Renji] I watched Jolly tend
to Sili's body in the coffin.
Jolly was taking care of everything
during Sili's funeral.
Sili's brother was there too,
but it was Jolly who ordered him
to get the candles, to get the flowers.
It was Jolly who prepared
and arranged for everything.
As I was watching her,
I felt mentally disturbed
about what was going on.
[Renji] My eyes moved away
from Sili's body
and I started watching Jolly
who was moving around
tending to Sili's body,
picking up a flower here,
placing it there.
I looked at Jolly's face
and I felt there was
something strange about it.
Um, I sense that there was
something different about them.
By different, I mean, uh,
I felt that deep inside, Jolly was happy.
And somehow, this was reflected
on her face, her expression.
I could feel it.
[suspenseful music]
I just stood there stunned.
A thought suddenly struck my mind.
[camera shutters clicking]
"Had Jolly taken Sili out of the equation
so that she could be with Shaju?
Did Jolly kill Sili?"
This horrifying thought began
to haunt me all the time,
it was very disturbing.
Then I thought that maybe the baby
had also been an obstacle.
Because even after getting rid of Sili,
a little two-year-old child
would have been a burden for Jolly.
I just knew that something was not right.
[church bell clangs]
[birds squawking]
[Remo] Time went by
and, uh, a whole year passed
after Sili Auntie's death.
And everyone, uh, mourn her passing
on her first death anniversary.
Then one day, Amma called me
and she said she had
some personal news to give me.
She said that she had received a proposal.
[bell rings]
She said, "Kariachan Pappan
had bought a marriage proposal
and he was suggesting that Shaju and I
should get married
and settle down together."
And then she asked me
if she should accept the proposal or not.
She was just asking me
as a formality, nothing else.
It was a way for her to get my approval.
[Remo] If my mother and Shaju
wanted to get married to each other,
I wasn't going to be the one
to stand in their way.
And that's how I felt about it
at that time.
[tense music]
[Renji] By now I'd realized
that Jolly always had
every intention
of getting married to Shaju.
And once the two of them made it official,
it became clear
that she had achieved her goal.
[Renji] I always used to tell Rojo,
there is a verse in the bible that says,
"Whatever is done in the dark
will come to light someday."
I said, "Whatever she's hiding
from all of us,
it's all going to come out
into the open someday, at the right time.
You wait and see,"
that's what I told Rojo.
I truly believe that no matter how clever
a criminal might have been
covering all her crimes,
however brilliant she may be,
God will make sure that she leaves
some evidence behind,
and there will be justice.
[Renji] And that's when I decided
that I was going to do
something about this.
I told Rojo that I wanted
a copy of Roy's postmortem report.
When I looked at Roy's death certificate,
I noticed that the time of death recorded
was 11:20 p.m. late at night.
We know that cyanide immediately
shuts down respiration
by stopping the body from using oxygen.
I noticed that the food he had last eaten,
the rice and the chickpea curry,
was still undigested.
It was through this food
that the substance had entered his body.
Then a conversation I had with Jolly
suddenly came back to me.
I had come home after Roy'd passed away.
I was just talking casually
with Jolly the next day
and I remember asking her,
"What was the last thing
that Roy ate yesterday?"
And Jolly said, "Roy had a plate of rice
and chickpea curry.
He used to love that curry.
It used to be his favorite dish.
I asked, "What time did he eat?"
She said, "He ate around 2:30 to 3:00
in the afternoon."
[Renji] She also said,
"He didn't have dinner that night."
Now, while I was reading all the details
written down in the postmortem report.
This conversation kept coming back
repeatedly in my mind.
Especially these particular words.
"He didn't have dinner that night."
It was as if a lightning bolt
went through my body.
I literally had shivers down my spine.
I quickly looked at the report again.
Oh, my god.
This does not match
what she told me that day.
This report says something different.
[Renji] He did not eat this for lunch.
Because the body didn't get enough time
to digest the food.
And since the time of death was 11:20 p.m...
Roy had definitely eaten dinner.
And that's when I realized
that Jolly was behind all the deaths.
I went to meet K.G. Simon Sir
at his house in Thodupuzha.
I sat there for three hours
telling him everything
that had happened in the last few years.
I told him about the sequence of deaths
and about my suspicions after reading
the postmortem report.
I told him everything.
Sir said, "Renji, we will look into it.
It's a lot of work
but we'll investigate it."
[siren wailing]
[K.G. Simon] So we started
by transferring the case
to the crime branch.
We put a team of ten people together
and proceeded to open the investigation.
[K.G. Simon] She presented herself
as a teacher to everyone,
a teacher from NIT, at least.
That's how she introduced herself.
[K.G. Simon] So it was very important
that we carry out an investigation at NIT.
[NIT official] The investigation team
arrived here on August 20th.
They asked us to check the records
and see if this lady had worked here
on a permanent or temporary basis.
We then went through all the records,
all the way back to the year 2000.
We gave it in writing
that no such woman with that name
had ever been employed here.
[tense music]
[K.G. Simon] He said,
"There's no such person here.
No such woman has ever worked here
on a temporary
or even a daily wage basis."
But Jolly always had an ID card
around her neck.
We have a photo of it.
That was the source of confusion
for everyone.
So Jolly destroyed the ID card.
[tense music]
Even though she wasn't a professor,
we expected her
to have some similar qualifications.
She didn't even have that.
[K.G. Simon] But Jolly Joseph
had certificates showing
that she had passed the Bachelor's
and Master's degree in Commerce
and other professional qualifications.
When we investigated
the authenticity of the certificates.
We discovered that those certificates
belonged to someone else.
So how did she manage to do this?
Tom Thomas was an Administrative Assistant
in the education department.
After his retirement,
he opened up a consultancy,
it was an educational consultancy.
Now, a lot of students
used to send photocopies
of their certificates
to his consultancy firm.
Jolly knew about this
so she went into his office
and took a couple of certificates,
she erased the name
and marks from the certificate
and then added her name
and the marks that she wanted.
Then she made photocopies
and put them away.
Every single thing
that Jolly ever said was a lie.
During our investigation,
we found that Jolly had only
studied up to her pre-degree
and this was a very crucial
detail in the case.
[Remo] I had decided to go to Shimla
to pursue my college degree.
But, uh, since it was so far away,
I couldn't go home very often.
And then one day, my mother called me up
to say that there's a legal document
that's been delivered to our home.
The document said
that there had been six deaths
in the Ponnamattam family
and that they were suspicious.
And that, uh, there was
a newfound evidence
that had led them
to reinvestigate the case.
And they were convinced that
Jolly was the chief suspect
behind this string of crimes
and this was based on a written petition.
[Remo] It turned out that the petition
had been filed
by my paternal uncle and aunt.
My mother was informed of this
by the Thamarassery police
when they... when they delivered
the document.
It was around this time
that my mother started calling me
and she was telling me
that we have to get rid of this case.
"Please, you have to ask them
to withdraw this case."
It was unbelievable.
Unbelievable that one person
could commit so many murders.
It was something we only saw
in the movies.
We never heard
of such a thing in real life.
[Remo] And so I believed
what Jolly told me.
Later, uh, I called up my paternal aunt
and told her that,
"Look, if there's no concrete evidence
then maybe we should just
close this case, maybe."
Because I'm facing a lot of issues
and it's been mentally disturbing for me.
[Renji] He said, "My mother says
when these deaths took place
everyone was present, it wasn't just her."
He said, "Tell Uncle that my mother said
she's going to file
a defamation case against him
if he doesn't stop
and take the case back."
[Remo] Then my aunt got very
emotional and said that,
"Remo, you don't know the half of it.
These deaths are very suspicious.
Uh, and we have
a lot of doubts about them."
[Renji] I said, "Remo, son,
you can call me all you want
but I'm not going to change my mind."
I remember speaking to him
in a very stern tone of voice.
I told him very clearly that,
"Come what may,
I'm not going to withdraw my complaint."
[tense music]
[Remo] Then one day, an article came out
in the, uh, in the newspaper.
One of my friends took a photo
of the news article
and he had sent it to me.
[newsman 1] On Friday, the crime branch
will open the graves of six people
who died mysteriously in Koodathayi
and conduct forensic analysis.
The police has the district
administration's permission to do this.
[newsman 2] A shocking story
is emerging out of Koodathayi.
Six members of a family named Ponnamattam
are suspected to have been murdered
between 2002 and 2016.
On TV channels, it was written as, uh,
"Deaths by the Koodathayi serial murderer.
The police are investigating."
In a span of 14 years,
six mysterious deaths.
[indistinct chatter]
[Remo] All the TV channels
were showing our house
saying that six deaths had occurred there.
The news spread like wildfire.
My friends started calling and asking me,
"Remo, what's happening inside?"
I said, "I have no idea
what's going on over there."
[Remo] I was traveling
from Shimla to, uh, Delhi
because my connecting flight to Kerala
was from Delhi.
And I was continuously listening
to the news
trying to keep up with what was happening
at home at that time.
[K.G. Simon] The police are investigating
the murders that took place
at Koodathayi.
We need to determine
if there was any foul play
and we have our own methods
of finding that out.
[light tense music]
[indistinct chatter]
[K.G. Simon] This is the first time
in the history of Kerala Police
that six bodies have been exhumed
at the same time.
[in Malayalam] Only those who are required
to be present should enter.
[indistinct chatter]
[in English]
When you exhume a body after six years,
then there's no guarantee
that you'll find any trace
of cyanide in it.
You may find it but not for sure.
[tense music]
[Dr. Pillay]
The problem in this series of cases
is no doubt going to be
the chemical analysis.
Only in one case,
the autopsy was done on time,
maybe within a few hours or a day,
chemical analysis was done
and cyanide was detected.
[Dr. Pillay] Now we have a series
of five dead bodies,
where we have to prove
the presence of cyanide,
and some of these are buried
for more than a decade.
I think it is virtually like hunting
for a needle in a haystack,
trying to find
cyanide in a decomposing
or decomposed body.
[Renji] When news spread
that the bodies were being exhumed,
everyone was furious with us.
There was a lot of pressure,
from my mother's side of the family
and father's side of the family.
They even called a meeting
to try and stop us.
Uh, I heard that they had
actually talked about
summoning Rojo to the house
and breaking his legs.
[indistinct chattering]
[Renji] A lot of people had gathered
to watch the exhumation.
And since they didn't know
the reason for it,
they felt a lot of anger and resentment
towards Rojo and me.
They kept asking, "Why are you doing this?
What are you going to get out of it?"
[Renji] I was just standing there
watching the crowd
when I heard someone say,
"Poor Thomas Sir,
they won't even leave him alone in death.
They won't let him rest in peace."
I know what I'm doing is absolutely wrong.
I know everybody will say this.
They'll say that this is
the biggest blunder I'll ever make.
But I told them clearly,
"I know my parents are with me.
I know," I told them.
I have a mission.
[camera shutter clicks]
[melancholy music]
[Renji] So I didn't pay any attention
to the crowd gathered around
and I ignored their comments.
[melancholy music]
[suspenseful music]
[Remo] When I got home that evening,
uh, there was no one there
except for my brother.
Then Jolly arrived home
a little bit later.
One look at her face
and I knew she was in trouble.
She looked completely exhausted
and almost...
almost panic-stricken.
Deep down, she was full of fear.
She was absolutely terrified at that time.
I told Jolly that I needed
to speak with her
and I needed to know what's going on
so both of us went to another room.
[crickets chirping]
[Remo] As soon as we entered the room,
I turned around and asked her,
"What is going on?"
I was really upset that time
and I told her that,
"All the news channels
are pointing their fingers at you,
saying that you're the culprit."
Then I asked her very sternly,
"Did you make any mistakes in the past?
Did you have a hand in these murders?"
She's started crying and protesting.
And I remember there was
complete panic in her voice.
But she said, "I didn't have anything
to do with their deaths.
I'm completely innocent."
I told her,
"I want you to tell me the truth
and I want you to tell me everything.
Every single detail
of what had actually happened.
You've definitely done something
and I want you to tell me what you did."
And I finally managed to, uh,
break her down a little.
And then in a very feeble voice,
she admitted that,
"Hmm, I may have made a few mistakes."
I asked her again,
"Tell me, did you commit these murders?
I think it's time you tell me
everything that you have done."
[phone ringing]
[Renji] I was at a relative's house
in Kozhikode
when Remo called me.
I asked him, "What's wrong, son?
What happened?"
"This woman killed everyone."
This is what he told me.
Then I asked him, "How do you know?
Who told you about this, son?"
"She told me herself."
"Call the police right now, Auntie."
"Call the police and get her arrested."
[Renji] I quickly realized
that the rest of the cyanide
was still in the house.
Just a small amount was enough
for the two boys.
I told him, "Grab a piece of cloth
or bed sheet and stuff it in your mouth,
and don't fall asleep.
Make sure nothing goes into your mouth.
Don't eat or drink anything there."
I kept repeating this again and again.
And then I heard someone
knocking on his door.
[Renji] Then I heard the door open
and I heard Remo asking.
"Why are you standing there?
What exactly are you hoping to hear?"
[tense music]
As I listened from the other end,
I realized that it was Jolly
who was standing outside
and Remo was talking to her.
[tense music]
I told him, "I'll call you later,"
and quickly disconnected the call.
I was waiting for the night to end,
so I could go and get those kids
out of the house.
The first thing I did then was call
the superintendent of police.
[tense music]
[radio static]
[journalist 3] This morning,
Jolly Joseph was arrested
and taken to police custody
at her home in Koodathayi.
She will be formally charged
with killing her husband, Roy.
But she is under suspicion for the five
other deaths in question as well.
[indistinct radio chatter]
[Renji] I had been watching
all the news clips.
They brought Jolly out of the house
and put her in the police jeep.
Remo was standing in the veranda.
But there was no sign of the younger son.
I kept searching for him
in the news clips,
wondering where he was,
if he was still in the house or not.
The first thing I did
when we got to the house was
checking on the younger son.
He was still sleeping.
The whole house had an air of neglect.
There were dishes
lying unwashed in the sink.
I could see leftover food everywhere.
It seemed like nobody had bothered
to clean the place for weeks.
I just closed the door and left
but by then, a crowd had gathered
around the house.
[indistinct chatter]
[Renji] Some of them tried to speak to me.
But by now, the yard had filled
with people from the media.
I realized we wouldn't be able to get out.
[thunder rumbling]
But then something happened.
It was almost like it was a miracle.
At around three-thirty, four o'clock,
there was a huge thunderstorm
with falling rain.
It rained so heavily
that the media had to disperse
and move away.
I thought now is the time
to leave with the kids.
Then I told the boys,
"Go and pack your bags.
And take whatever you think
is important to you, but do it quickly."
And then I locked the house
and we left from there.
[Renji] That night,
while we were on our way home,
Remo showed me all the news clippings
related to our case.
I saw Shaju was defending Jolly.
By this time, they had started responding
to all the different news channels.
They were saying,
"This is a dispute over property.
They're just doing it for the money."
I looked at Remo and said,
"Just ignore these people.
Don't pay attention
to what they're saying."
We reached Vyttila at exactly 5:00 p.m.
Then I got out of the taxi
and opened the gate.
And as soon I walked through the gate...
I stood there for a moment
looking up at the sky,
and I said to my parents,
and also to my elder brother Roy,
"I did what I could do."
Because I knew that my parents
and all these other souls were with me.
That's what I believe.
I felt like they wanted
to carry out this mission through me
and that's why it worked.
I'm convinced of it.
[tense music]
[newswoman 1] She murdered her
mother-in-law to gain power.
Her father-in-law for his property.
Her husband
for questioning her relationships.
Her uncle for growing suspicious
about her activities.
Sili and her daughter Alphine
for getting in the way of her plans
to marry Sili's husband, Shaju.
Was Jolly the mastermind
behind all the murders?
[journalist 1]
The court has remanded Jolly
in police custody for six days,
until the 16th of this month.
During that time,
they will be questioning her,
and perhaps the biggest
unanswered question is,
"Did Jolly act alone?"
[K.G. Simon] This is what Jolly told me.
Jolly had read in the newspaper
about the highly poisonous substance
that acts quickly.
This poison was called cyanide.
And it was easily accessible
to goldsmiths who made jewelry.
Now M.S. Mathew was in the business
of selling gold jewelry.
He had been working as a salesman
in a jewelry store for quite some time.
Keeping this in mind,
Jolly formed a friendship with Mathew.
She asked Mathew for some cyanide,
saying that she needed to kill a stray dog
that kept coming into the house.
[K.G. Simon] Now Praji Kumar used to work
at the same jewelry store as M.S. Mathew.
He was a goldsmith
and had a very good relationship
with Mathew.
It was Praji Kumar
who gave Mathew the cyanide.
[reporter 2 in Malayalam] Mathew... Mathew...
Were you aware of what she was doing?
[reporter 3] How many times did you
give cyanide to her?
[reporter 4] Mathew, are you trapped
in this case by someone?
[K.G. Simon in English]
Mathew was given the opportunity to tell
his side of the story in the court.
He had a chance to tell the court
that he was innocent,
that this was a false case,
and that he had nothing to do
with the six murders.
But when asked
if he had anything to say at all,
he didn't deny being involved.
[journalist 3]
With Jolly and her accomplices
in the police custody,
K.G. Simon's case is complicated
by the lack of physical evidence.
No doubt finding the cyanide used
in these murders
would make that case much stronger.
[crowd clamoring]
[K.G. Simon]
The evidence-gathering process
during this case was very challenging.
Because wherever we took Jolly,
there was always
a lot of intense media attention
followed by crowd and chaos.
[indistinct chattering]
[police 1] This way.
[in Malayalam] Haven't you seen
enough photos of me already?
[reporter] Yes,
we have seen you a lot already.
[K.G. Simon in English] Then we took
Jolly Joseph to the Ponnamattam house.
We felt as though the evidence fell
right into our hands.
[newswoman 2] This is a turning point
in the Koodathayi serial murder case.
Last night, the police found
crucial evidence,
a bottle containing a powder,
suspected to be cyanide
at the Ponnamattam house.
[B.A. Aloor] With all due respect
to the honorable court
and with all due respect
to the prosecution,
as a defense lawyer,
I find it hard to believe,
that such a substance
would be found in her home,
after all these years.
It's beyond my imagination.
In order to incriminate Jolly
and to prove that the allegations
against her were true,
the prosecution fabricated the evidence,
the potassium cyanide,
the bottle in which it was kept,
and the place where it was hidden.
I believe the whole thing was set up
to fit the narrative,
to serve the purpose of their case.
[Nikhila] Whenever I spoke
to police officers,
they did not give me clear-cut answers,
which made me feel
that the police investigation
was not complete.
There could have been holes
in the police, uh, narrative,
which was never questioned.
[Nikhila] These questions would actually
stare back at you,
the loopholes in the case.
[B.A. Aloor] Jolly's case is
actually made up of six cases
with a total of 263 witnesses.
If we were to conduct a trial
for each case,
which is how it should be,
then the first trial
would take at least one year,
the others following in succession.
So it would take six years
for six cases to be concluded.
So what legal benefits
is the defendant entitled to?
First, give us those legal provisions,
and I will get to the truth
and prove her innocence in court.
I believe 100%
that Jollyamma will succeed.
She will not be convicted
at any point of time.
[soft piano music]
[piano playing]
[K.G. Simon] The case is now
in the hands of the court,
our work is done.
After I retired, I got a lot of offers
to take up other cases.
[K.G. Simon] But I turned them down
because I wanted to spend
more time with my family
and take care of them.
And that's exactly what I'm doing now.
[Rojo] When they filed a case against her
and she was arrested...
some people didn't speak to me,
and there were some people
who called me to apologize.
Yeah, but everyone was dumbstruck,
our relatives too.
[Rojo] Looking back...
I think it was fate.
What else could it be?
Pure bad luck.
We planned to renovate
the Ponnamattam house and make it...
our ancestral home again.
We want to continue living there
like we used to.
Maybe then the souls of our parents
will finally get some peace.
Because this was the house
of their dreams.
[reporter 3] Remo, do you think
your mother acted alone?
Is she the only one who is guilty?
I'm sorry I can't say anything right now
because it's not over yet
and we're still waiting
for the end result.
We all want to know the end result,
don't we? Huh?
I can't afford to be worn down
by this process.
I have to take care of my little brother.
That I have a responsibility.
I have to take care of him.
So I'm going to overcome this
and I'm going to move on and that's all.
Well, I just want to say one thing.
Whether it takes 17 years or 25 years,
truth will triumph.
[reporters clamor]
[Renji] A lot of people
have asked this question.
"All of you are such educated people,
how did you not suspect
what Jolly was doing?"
"How could you not know
about her educational qualifications?"
To all the people who've been
asking us these questions,
I have only one thing to ask them,
"When you're son is about to get married,
how many of you asked to see
your daughter-in-law's
educational qualifications,
her graduation certificates,
or her portfolios?"
[Renji] We trusted her,
that's what family does, right?
She knew very well
that no one would ever doubt her.
[Renji] You know there is a phrase
that describes people like her.
"A wolf in sheep's clothing."
If a wolf disguises itself as a sheep,
then no one will know it for what it is.
Maybe that's why, in Jolly's case,
she was able to hide
who she really was from everyone.
[Renji] I've often wondered...
What was Jolly trying to gain
with all this?
Was it for money? For power? Property?
I wanted to hear the answers
directly from Jolly herself.
I was waiting upstairs.
Then Jolly came in, accompanied
by several policemen and women.
When she saw me,
there was no change
in her facial expression.
To be honest, I didn't have any
particular feelings towards this woman.
I said, "Look, I came here to tell you
that you shouldn't call Remo so often.
It makes him very upset.
I know because I overheard him
speaking very angrily with you.
You're always calling him up and saying,
"Look at how they're punishing me.
Listen, I'm going to get out of here.
Come here and show me the proof
that I did something wrong."
"If you keep saying these things,
he's going to get more angry.
So I don't want you bothering him again."
I told her, "What bothers Remo the most
is that you have shown no remorse
for what you've done.
You still haven't understood
the seriousness of what you've done.
The impact that's had on the children
and the rest of the family.
The children never received
what they wanted from their mother.
And now they're going through
this terrible time because of you.
I don't want them going through
this hell anymore,
so the sole purpose of my visit is to...
put a stop to this.
I accept the fact that you are the one
who gave birth to them,
I don't deny that,
I will always acknowledge you
as their mother,
and I'm sure the children will too.
But this present situation
has been very hard on them
and I will not allow them
to suffer anymore."
I told her, "As long as I'm alive,
I won't allow it.
They're my children now.
I'm going to raise them
as if they are my own."
[Remo] What our aunt has done for us
can't be described in just a word
or even a sentence.
The way she's loved us and cared for us
is far beyond anything
we could ever imagine.
It's only now
that we've really become a family.
It may seem like we're a new family,
but we're not...
We're... we're all of the same blood.
Many of our loved ones
are no longer with us.
But I know that their blessings
are with us.
And... and I'm sure
that they're all here with us in spirit.
And we don't dwell on the past anymore,
we don't have any regrets.
Instead, we've moved on
and we've all become stronger.
[inaudible chatter]
[Renji] The person who held
such a high position in our family,
who lived such a privileged life
in our house,
with an army of servants
and countless possessions.
Now, had to be escorted in
by ten police officers.
While I was speaking to her,
I couldn't help but feel a little pity.
I kept thinking what a terrible situation
this person Jolly
has landed herself in so unnecessarily.
[Renji] I asked her, "How do you feel
about what you've done?"
"It just happened."
That's what she said, "It just happened."
"You consciously and deliberately
murdered these six people.
And you didn't even spare a little child.
And now you're telling, it just happened?"
"That's because I have
the mind of a criminal,
I'm very good at hiding things."
That was her reply.
Then after we finished talking,
she told me, you know.
"It's written in the Bible that
no matter how much we sinned,
God will always forgive us.
So God will forgive me too."
I said, "Yeah, God will forgive you.
After all, God forgives everyone,
you're right."
[tense music]
[melancholy music]
[suspenseful music]