Delhi Crime Is Chilling In Its Atmospheric Pressure

Delhi Crime(Netflix series)

Starring Shefali Shah,  Rasika Duggal

Directed  by Ritchie Mehta

Rating: *** ½(3 and a half stars)

It isn’t easy being on the  right side  of  the  law when all you get  for your efforts is  brickbats  and  insults  from fencesitters.

To say that this disturbing but finally redundant  real-life crime drama  whitewashes the khaki uniform  would be  frivolous  and  irresponsible  to the extreme. What it does do is to humanize the police force by showing a cluster of fiercely committed  police persons(the two  main Khaki persona in  the story are women) driving themselves over the edge to nap the perpetrators  of the crime.

Did  the  cops on the case really show this level of commitment?  Does  it matter? Heroism  on  a level where  it  heals society is unquestionable.

Recreating in vivid vicious  colours  the  events  before during and after  the life-changing ‘Nirbhaya’ gangrape in Delhi, this 7-part series spares  us the  brutality  of watching the rape but protects  from none of the trauma  and horrific aftermath  of  a crime that shook the conscience of the nation.

As  we hear  our  drama’s hero Vartika Chaturvedi say, this crime was different, the savagery  was  unprecedented.She got it right.

I will  never forget the  sequence where the ravaged  girl is rolled into the  hospital bloodied brutalized  beyond all  human explanation, in pain beyond all endurance she tells her father, “I will be fine.”

We do  that  all the time. We keep saying things will be fine when we  know  they will only get worse.

Director  Richie Mehta  negotiates with  powerful hands the many  hurdles that a crime investigation so complex must  face. This is  a very professionally handled  crime drama, superior to some of  the real-life crime dramas on television ( some of which are  not bad at all) mainly for  the level of  performance  director Mehta gets  out  of  the cast speciallyShefali Shah. But it doesn’t achieve that  level of  emotional impact that  I expected  from the  product considering the fine talent that’s gone  into it.

 There are two reasons  why Delhi Crime stops short  of being a  masterpiece  on real-life crime. For one  it  holds back way too much of the angst  probably to appeal to a global audience. The attempt to subdue  the  sheer insanity of  the crime is admirable  but eventually a fatal error of judgment.

A  more immediate  crisis  of efficacy emerges from  the fact that Delhi Crime  resembles a  very recent Netflix film Soni which was in   every way  a superior work. The domestic disarray in the life of the female cops  and the  professional dynamics  between  two female officers in Soni is echoed here  in  the rapport that grows  between the two cops played by Shefali Shah and Rasika Dugal, both in fine  form imbuing  the  contours  of crime with  an implosive reined-in anger at a system that fosters  inequality and  brutality.

Shefali Shah is specially powerful.She  is compelling  because her anger internalized, palpable. She  not only anchors  the series  with her persuasive presence, she also diminishes  and decimates  the  rather disturbing feeling we get that this  sort of stark recreation of  India’s most well-known sex  crime serves no  purpose except to remind us that the change we hoped to see in  the  number   of  rapes in  our country never happened.

Nirbhaya lives, and dies, again.  Long live Nirbhaya.

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