I was interning in Narketpally in the Nalgonda district of Telangana, which is around 100km away from Hyderabad in early 2015. It was quite difficult communicating there for the obvious reasons of language barriers as it was a peri urban area and people neither understood English nor Hindi. But sign language always come to the rescue! In March 2015, just before International Women’s Day, the documentary titled “India’s Daughter” directed by Leslee Udwin was released even after a court order stay. It was not aired in India but was aired outside and was uploaded on YouTube around 4 March 2015. By the next day, the Indian government had to direct YouTube to have the documentary blocked.
However, thanks to social media, it was floating everywhere. I remember watching it all alone in a room, although I couldn’t finish the last 10 minutes of the documentary as it was taken off the web. As a 21-year-old girl, it disturbed me deeply. I was scared. The details of the events were extremely gory and it leaves an impact on your mind with a ringing question: what if all men are treacherous? It left me disturbed as I had to travel all alone in the wee hours of the day where there were language barriers and I had absolutely no idea about the places nearby.
Fast forward four years later, the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder of 16 December 2012 has been retold in the Netflix web series by Richie Mehta titled “Delhi Crime” comprising 7 episodes. The web series is extremely daring, uncomfortable and shakes one’s conscience. The accused confessing his dastardly act was so spine chilling that I had to pause for the next 10 minutes as my mind went totally numb! What left me in a deep sense of shock was that he was totally unapologetic. Every character is as important as the protagonist Shefali Shah who was undoubtedly stellar and this has been one of her best performances till date! The web series showcases the challenges that the Police department faces every day with low funds, inadequate staff, power cuts in the police stations and being caught in a never-ending cycle of red-tapism.
The dialogues are well-written and were simple and easy to understand as it felt like everyday conversation. The series very smartly used the synonym of the victim’s actual name, i.e. Deepika. She left us and reminded the whole world that there are demons in our society and it is extremely unimaginable as to what goes inside their minds. These demons are the very people which further aggravate the problem of patriarchy and with at crossroads of gender, caste and class, things go out of control. The series is also an important reminder as to how media compromises with integrity, forgets the very essence of ethics and goes to great lengths of craze to get that one byte for prime time television; blowing everything out of proportion. They end up compromising with an individual’s self-respect and privacy because negativity and hatred sell more than anything else. Further, with this, they are responsible for promoting vigilantism!
We have to believe in judicial trials and not media trials!
Dialogues like – “Acha hua yeh amiron ke saath nahi hua!” was indeed a very disturbing dialogue and was hard hitting. If such incidents happen in the lower ranks of the society, how many times do they get justice or are assured of justice? We need to come out of the habit of posting our rants on social media and actually reach out such victims in need and help in whatever capacity we can. Another reminder was that such crimes are happening everywhere and are happening among all the classes of society. Some are able to report it or dare to report it and some go totally unreported.
These are events that shook humanity. These are events which are so gripping that even after many years, people make an effort with an amazing amount of storytelling, writing, films and web series to tell the society that abominable social evils exist where we live! It resonates so well among the audience that in their pursuit to be aware of an event, their quest to hunt down every single detail of such an event doesn’t end easily. They surely can’t satisfy their hungry minds as they want to listen and hear all sides of the story again and again with different perspectives!
Go and watch “Delhi Crime” if you haven’t!