India remembers the horrific incident of Delhi gang rape that shook the nation, back in 2012. The victim, a paramedical student who was traveling with a male friend on a public bus at night, was raped by six men and brutally tortured, which eventually led to her death after about two weeks. This irked global angst and outrage. BBC's documentary on the same, titled India's Daughter was banned in India. Now, Netflix has come up with a miniseries called Delhi Crime based on the 2012 incident, which is streaming now.
The seven-part series is written and directed by Richie Mehta, a Canadian writer, and director. The trailer of Delhi Crime fueled curiosity as well as admiration, with everyone eagerly looking forward to the full series. On Friday, the series started airing on Netflix and have been receiving rave reviews from the critics.
And why not?
A December Delhi, shivery and smoggy, becomes a faultless milieu for Mehta's series. Two policemen, as they contemplate on the rising instances of violence in Delhi, drive down to reach an accused rapist. Nirbhaya, as we know her, succumbed to her wounds but gave birth to reform all across India's judiciary pertaining to sexual assaults as well as the capital city's measures for women's safety.
Delhi Crime stars Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Adil Hussain and Rajesh Tailang among other actors. Mehta, who took six long years to research, had been reaching out to the investigating authorities for insights.
"As they talked me through their experiences I started to see the limitations they faced. Like that they don’t get to see their families for weeks at a time during an investigation, or that an officer (involved with the case) didn’t even have a vehicle to get to the crime scene," he told The Gurdian, referring to the fact that the Delhi Police was at the receiving end of widened anger after the incident took place.
Shah's character Vartika Chaturvedi, a police officer who supervises the investigation, is based on a true character. Hers is also a sigh of relief among the muddy reputation law enforcers are often subjected to. She'd go to any length to perform her duty, and she does. Chaturvedi is also mother to a teenage daughter, who is more keen on leaving for Toronto rather than staying back. The daughter is rather a symbol of the discontented youth of the country, looking for brighter sides of life. She tells her mother how it is nearly impossible to walk the Delhi streets without being harassed or being ogled at.
Chaturvedi, over being a mother, is an optimistic protector of the law. “No, it’s getting better,” she replies. “You just can’t see it," she answers her daughter.
Shefali Shah's Vartika Chaturvedi, the DCP-South is so far the driving force. Shah, as an officer who does everything to protect her case from falling prey to rounds of police politics, delivers a flawless performance. Rasika Dugal, a new addition to the police force, is fresh, fierce and determined.
It is also Mehta's depiction of the investigation that demands our attention. It consists of all the familiar hurly-burly one can think of. The officers are often reluctant to spend long days at work, think it a fitter way to beat suspects in order to extract the truth and sometimes, the police stations are running out of electricity. Yet, somewhere down the line, Delhi Crime is a story of hope and emphasises that the right things are being done. As a refreshing change, it also puts things across from the perspective of a police force that is responsible for over 20 million living in a city, with its limited manpower.