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Shefali Shah on Playing a Cop in Netflix’s ‘Delhi Crime’

Director Richie Mehta delves deep into a real life tragedy. 

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Netflix’s new series Delhi Crime, directed by Richie Mehta is a fictionalised account based on the case files of the horrific 2012 gang-rape also known as the Nirbhaya case. Before its worldwide release on Netflix, The Quint spoke to lead actor Shefali Shah and the director about dealing with a sensitive subject, the research and censorship.

Richie has put in years of research to create the show, but one wonders what intrigued him about the story. “So I had a family friend in the Delhi police and he had seen my previous work and suggested that I make a film about this incident and I was resistant, I didn’t think it was appropriate, but then he said why don’t you read some of the material. So I read the material, met some of the officers and just as a person I was intrigued and then I got to know them and really started to understand their point of view on this, I started to feel compassion for them.”

But with an incident as sensitive as this one, it was important that it in no way should seem exploitative, and Richie had a few checks and balances for that. He said, “The first one being that no way would we show the crime and going forward would be what is the minimum kind of visual representation we could give to this incident. But essentially the hard part to watch is just hearing it, that’s all they say, speak about it and it’s very difficult.”

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Shefali Shah leads the team of officers investigating the crime on the show, and in fact met the person who inspired her part. She said,

I had the honour of meeting her and she is incredible. I don’t really know what she went through, what she felt, how she reacted moment to moment but there is an inherent grain which is in her and which comes through in Vartika and then it had to be married with him and my instinct and my impulse and the information and insight that she gave. I couldn’t have done it without both of them.
Shefali Shah, Actor

Netflix’s Delhi Crime starring Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal and Rajesh Tailang will be streaming worldwide from 22 March.

Video Editor: Ashish MacCune

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