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.
“Initially I was against the idea. I thought it was inappropriate for anyone to do it,” the Indian-Canadian director told AFP during an interview in Mumbai.
“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.