She has played several roles, sometimes of a beggar, bhutta seller, maid and even a tenant, but she isn’t a professional actor. She is an undercover detective who disguises characters to unmask the truth. Meet Akriti Khatri, a real-life jasoos.
As a child, Akriti was always inquisitive about her surroundings. During her school and college days, her friends relied on her to dig out information on boys that they were interested in dating. She obliged them happily as finding out information about people’s lives was her favourite hobby. But as she grew up, she never thought of becoming a detective. In fact, Akriti graduated in science, and went on to do an MBA.
However, destiny had some other plans for her. One day while reading a newspaper, she stumbled upon a few advertisements of a detective agency. Since she was curious, she called the number given under the advertisements and asked them how she could become a detective. The lady on the other side of the phone asked her to come for an interview. And that’s how got her a job in a detective agency.
But after working under someone for a few years, she decided to be her own boss. In 2016, started her full-time detective agency ‘Venus Detective Agency’ and managed to carve a niche in this male-dominated industry.
However, people were not kind to her. “There were a lot of judgements. People expected me to settle for a white-collar job,” she recalls.
That did not shackle her spirit and she remained determined and fearless. As soon as she became an entrepreneur, she has been handling corporate and personal cases - love affair, child custody, employee cheating, scandals, cybercrime and due diligence, to name a few.
But she points out that being a detective is not easy and different from how the profession is portrayed in movies. “There’s a lot of blood and sweat that goes into digging out all sorts of information on a person who is under surveillance. It’s not like a typical 9 to 5 job. A detective is required to be on his/her toes all the time,” she says.
When asked what an ordinary day looks like? Apt comes the reply, “There is nothing ordinary about this profession. Every day comes as a challenge and no two days are the same. We are required to find out who the investigated person is meeting, where he/she goes and also about his/her friends, job, eating and partying habits, connections as well as net worth. The detective can do this himself or involves another person working under him to collect this data.”
Akriti insists that detectives rely on proof and recorded data. Collecting this accompanies a major risk of getting caught. However, escaping such a situation lies in the hands of a detective.
“It is important for a detective to be smart. We don’t have ID cards while we are investigating into a case like police or journalists have. We are vulnerable to suspicion. There have been instances where I have found out that my cover has been blown. The best thing to do at that time is to leave the premise. In case, someone is unlucky to get caught, he/she should always be ready with a strong story in his/her mind to escape such a mishap,” she explains.
Akriti enjoys solving cases creatively. She credits her former boss for allowing her to think out of the box. “When I used to work with my former boss, I used to find different ways of doing the same thing and he trusted me to take that step. Now, as a boss, I inculcate the same values in my employees,” she says.
Besides handling cases, she also trains women aspiring to be detectives. Her agency has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur and Chandigarh, where she deploys local people, keeping the language barriers in mind.