Director overcomes reservations to make Indian gang-rape series

MUMBAI • Richie Mehta was at first reluctant to make Netflix's latest Indian series, documenting the aftermath of a gang-rape and murder of an Indian student that made global headlines.

Physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh, 23, was left for dead by five men and a teenager on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012.

The crime shone a global spotlight on India's high levels of sexual violence and sparked protests and a change in the law to introduce the death penalty for rape.

"I thought it was inappropriate for anyone to do it," the Indian-Canadian director said.

"But after I 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, will be released tomorrow.

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 detention.

Mehta spent four years interviewing police officials involved in the case. "When the crime happened, there was a lot of anger pointed towards 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 said.

The series, in English and Hindi, was well received at the Sundance Film Festival this year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2019, with the headline 'Director overcomes reservations to make Indian gang-rape series'. Subscribe