The horrific crime shone an international spotlight on India’s high levels of sexual violence, sparked weeks of protests and brought about a change in the law
Filmmaker Richie Mehta was at first reluctant to make Netflix’s latest Indian series, documenting the aftermath of the notorious gang-rape and murder of an Indian student that made global headlines.
Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was violently raped and assaulted and left for dead by five men and a teenager on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012.
The horrific crime shone an international spotlight on India’s high levels of sexual violence, and sparked weeks of protests and eventually a change in the law to introduce the death penalty for rape.
“But after I read the verdict and met some of the officers involved, I was amazed. The verdict detailed the manhunt and who these people were and how they were found.
“I realised that this analysis of hunting these guys is also a way of understanding why these things happen,” he added.
“Delhi Crime”, a seven-part series written and directed by Mehta, will be released on Netflix worldwide on Friday.
The thriller recreates the police investigation, tracing the pursuit of the six men behind the shocking crime.
Four of the adults accused received death sentences, while one died in prison by a suspected suicide. The teenager was released after three years in a youth detention home.
Mehta said Delhi’s police commissioner at the time of the atrocity, Neeraj Kumar, had first suggested to him that the investigation would make a powerful film.
The filmmaker disagreed at the outset. But gradually he changed his mind and went on to spend four years interviewing police officials involved in the case.
– ‘Too painful’ –
It is their perspective on the case that he tells.
“When the crime happened, there was a lot of anger pointed toward this institution. But when I got to know their point of view I realised the police were trying their best, especially given the statistics.
“As we say at the start of the show: ‘11,000 heinous crimes are reported every year (in Delhi). Prevention is nearly impossible with half the police force stuck on traffic duty and VIP protection’,” he added.
The series, filmed in English and Hindi, was well received at its premier at the Sundance Film Festival this year.