The Nirbhaya case is a harsh recall, a case which stormed a rage across the nation and widespread protests against heinous crime. The incident which took place in 2012 has been deeply engraved within the citizens as well as the Indian Judicial System (new laws were formulated post-Nirbhaya), it’s a gutsy decision to make a series on one of the recent most sensitive human issues. Richie Mehta’s Delhi Crime is a seamless and sensitive blend of fact-and-fiction. The seven-episodes series is a gaze through the Delhi Police Force amidst all political pressure, interpersonal conflicts as well as questionable anti-human behaviour. While fine investigative thrillers are rare (namely Jeethu Joseph’s Drishyam, Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly, Meghana Gulzar’s Talvar) in India, Delhi Crime is a taut investigative series which wrenches the gut.
Delhi Crime evokes agony with the detailed investigation as it explores the human misery and mastery. A peculiar subplot features DCP Vartika Chaturvedi (Shefali Shah) and her daughter Chandni (Yashaswani Dayama) which ignites how does the youth feel about the city. Vartika is shattered by the human misery, Police Force is onto the case solving mastery while Chandni’s anxiety about the dark side of the city is retaliating. Director Richie Mehta sensitively handles, he endures horror through verbose presentation of the crime – that’s enough to make you nauseated. Minor plot points like the political hatching look an easy gimmick, but if you happen to know the Nirbhaya proceedings – Mehta’s blend of fiction is gruesome. Also, it loses steam while finding its last suspect but I’ll blame on the situational restlessness rather than the gradual built up. Somewhere down the seven-episodes amidst all the shocking, nauseating and agonising factor, Delhi Crime’s challenging perspective traverses from sympathy towards empathy – that’s where Richie Mehta’s deft writing comes in.
Delhi Crime’s grimness lies upon its sombre illumination, Cinematographer Johan Aidt captivates the coldness with dark colour palette and partial lighting. Beverly Mills’s slick editing compliments the track and following shots exploring the characters’ constant struggle. And the infamous New Delhi’s traffic, the chaos finds rhythm in pacing while engaging in urgency. There’s no moment wasted, characters as well as the city are elements of situational absorbents finding ample of space. It’s a tough watch for Indian Audience which surfed through the media trials, because this is a series which explores the investigation in a riveting manner. Delhi Crime features characters from nook and corner of the social hierarchy which makes it objectively tough to judge amidst all the dynamic “surviving” ecosystem. In one of the most brutal sequence, a rapist re-lives the horrifying incidence with deadpan eyes – and over the time, his background check questions the toxic ecosystem. Gradually, the engagement was engrossed within the time-ticking thriller and with numerous emotional naps, I ended the series with constant drop of heartbeat.Shefali Shah delivers a riveting performance especially through formidable silences, reflecting perseverance. Vartika (means lamp), labeled as “Madam Sir” treads a thin between gender and dystopia; hence, lighting a lamp for morality. Rajesh Tailang (Mukkabaaz, Omertà) lends a terrific support while Yashaswini Dayama perfectly portrays the anxiety of the youth. Rasika Dugal, Adil Hussain, Denzil Smith, Anurag Arora, Gopal Dutt Tiwari, etc. seamlessly blend into the rustic character performances.
Leslee Udwin’s India’s Daughter (2015) routed through documentary format while Richie Mehta’s blend of fact-and-fiction spurts hideous truth about civilisation. Delhi Crime is meticulously crafted which yields riveting as well as gut-wrenching results about the investigation, as it simultaneously explores the sociocultural conscience.
Release: 22 March, 2019
Copyright ©2019 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.