Netflix series Delhi Crime wins International Emmy for Best Drama: Tracing the journey of the show

By: |
November 26, 2020 4:43 PM

The intense show has been directed by Richie Mehta, and covers the police procedure against the backdrop of the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.

Now, a second season of the series is being worked upon. (Image: Netflix via IE)

Delhi Crime: In a big first for Indian shows, Netflix original series Delhi Crime won an International Emmy Award for Best Drama on Monday in the 48th edition of the awards. The seven-part series became the first-ever Indian programme to receive the prestigious International Emmy award. There were 44 nominees from 20 countries across 11 categories in the ceremony. The intense show has been directed by Richie Mehta, and covers the police procedure against the backdrop of the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.

The International Emmy Awards were constituted way back in 1973 with the aim of focusing on shows that had international appeal as well as universal resonance.

Now, a second season of the series is being worked upon, the details of which are not quite known, according to a report by IE. Here’s a look at what sets the now International Emmy-winning series Delhi Crime apart.

Stemming from reality

Set against the backdrop of the shocking gangrape that took place in Delhi in December 2012, the show stars Shefali Shah, Rasika Duggal and Rajesh Tailang in the lead roles. The show focuses on the aftermath of the crime in a fictionalised dramatisation, the report adds. Mehta attempts to unfold the story via the police investigation to nab the culprits of the incident, which has come to be known as the Nirbhaya case among the people of the country. In an earlier interview, IE quoted Mehta as saying that soon after the incident, in 2013, he hadn’t deemed it appropriate to make a film about the incident and the case, because the verdict had just been announced. The Indo-Canadian filmmaker was in India when the horrific incident occurred.

He went on to explain how he got hooked onto the case. When he was in India back then, he had met with a former Commissioner of Delhi Police Neeraj Kumar, who was his family friend. Kumar had suggested that Mehta make a film on the case, and after Mehta expressed his reservations about it being too soon, Kumar told him to read the verdict when it came out, after which Kumar would introduce him to the officers involved in the investigation. Upon reading the verdict, Mehta was shocked by the details, and proceeded to ask the investigators several questions to look at them not just as cops investigating a case, but also as human beings dealing with such an incident up close.

Twists and turns

The verdict and the story of the incident is available in public domain. Working with something like that and making it engaging for the audience could be very challenging. However, Mehta incorporated dramatic turns to keep it interesting. He takes a triple-perspective into the investigation, told by DCP Vartika Chaturvedi, portrayed by Shefali Shah, Rasika Duggal’s character newly appointed police officer Neeti Singh and Rajesh Tailang-portrayed veteran police officer Bhupender Singh. Through their insights, Mehta attempts to trace their journey of catching hold of the culprits.

While the backdrop is a true incident, Mehta did tweak small parts to give the show a dramatic twist. He said that the show saw three characters of the real story coming together as one, and it also focused on tiny details like the gathering of the information about the crime scene, which was the bus.

The focus on struggles of women

The story, while focusing on this one incident, brought to focus the treatment meted out to and the perception about women in the country, and it became a repeated reflection in the series. This was in line with the actual consequence of the horrific incident, which triggered mass debates on the sexual crimes against women that take place very frequently in India.

Mehta was quoted as saying that while listening to such cases often desensitized people, this case shattered all the bounds. He added that while he couldn’t relate to it due to being a man, he thought about what he would do if a loved one had been subjected to this ordeal. He also questioned when a person would intervene if such a thing was happening to a stranger and at what cost. This, he said, remained his internal conflict until he was able to talk to the investigators of the case, and he asserted that he truly believed the case reached its conclusion due to the response of DCP South as a woman and as a person.

The controversy

While the attention to detail in the story was praised by many, the show did garner some criticism due to the fact that the Delhi Police was portrayed as overly sympathetic. Mehta said that he felt the need to tell the stories about people in uniform, who are like psychologists, gathering vast amounts of data and information every day, talking to criminals and suspects. He said that the story used for Vartika was based on a lady cop who was worried about her daughter going abroad and not returning. While the cop was super tough, the incident still worried her.

He also shared the story of the STF officer on whom Tailang’s character was based. The officer had been looking for a match for his daughter, but the other side called off the talks when they found out he was in the Delhi Police and was not an IPS. Telling these stories, Mehta said, was important to him.

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