Delhi Crime, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, is currently streaming on Netflix. In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, creator of the series Richie Mehta spoke about the six-year making of the series. Mehta revealed that as he got to know more about the story from the police’s point of view, he felt that this story became a tool for channelling his anger.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Delhi Crime sometimes makes you feel overwhelmed. Especially the scenes where they describe the gangrape. It is a show that is probably a little intense to binge watch so why did you decide that Netflix was the right platform for this?
It was resourced and produced with no platform attached and it was just on the hopes that we can make a series that people wanted to see and had the right sensitivity to it. Netflix came on after we had completed. We showed at Sundance and at that time they came on and they just showed an incredible vision for it. Their ideas for how to get it out there, what it could do and their passion for it was unparalleled.
The show is based on the 2012 gangrape case but it is a fictionalised version of the events. How much would you say is fact vis a vis fiction?
I can’t speak to percentages but it is a fictionalised dramatisation of that (2012 gangrape case) event. With the research that I was doing, it formed the backbone of the plot. But a lot of the characters are amalgamations of several officers. So I can’t really speak to percentages but the essence of what I am trying to represent is based on what I believe is very faithful.
The audience gets to see the story from the police’s point of view and how they solve every part of the puzzle. How did you decide to go ahead with the police’s point of view?
Because that is the point of view that I got to know. I had a family friend who is in the police and he had kind of originally put me onto it. It was a four-year period of research and writing and getting to know them. I started to really feel for them and understand their position and I felt that people at large weren’t getting that. They were telling me simple things about their routine that I found shocking like not having a vehicle to get to a crime scene or power going out in a station. For me, it was like ‘How are you supposed to do the things that we need you to do if these basic needs are not met?’
So all of these together, I felt would make something potentially very special. In that way, for so many of us, you feel the horror and the pain and anger that boils up. But where is that anger going towards? Is it going towards people who are trying their best and also have their own issues and trying to grapple with this? We need to understand that. So that was my way into this. That is why I chose that point of view.
Is there any message that you want to give out with Delhi Crime?
I think there is a reason it is a seven-hour long and not an hour and a half film. There is so much to it. I think it is about inspiring people to look at things in a different way, to look at a perspective we never really considered on something we have all felt deeply. I think, for me, it is also about channeling that anger into something may be more positive and that can happen only when you understand a situation better, the complexity of it. It was a very complicated situation and if we explore that situation through people that we feel compassion for and empathy for, I think that is a step in the right direction.
Delhi Crime was screened at Sundance Film Festival. What kind of reactions did you get there?
We showed the first two episodes and it is not the kind of show that elicits a rousing reaction after it. People were very quiet and very stunned but afterwards, you speak to them and it was amazing. We were talking about how the international audience knows about this (case). They remember it. It is still very much on their minds. And so they had a reference point for this and felt very deeply about it. Of course, it is going to resonate and hit home for Indian audiences in a very personal way. But we were surprised at how relevant it was to everyone else. In a way a lot of the things we are talking about in the show are not Indian issues. It is a humanity thing. It is all over the world.