Delhi Crime review – Mr T’s take

A dramatization of the investigation that followed the horrific gang rape in Delhi in 2012 which shook the nation. This Delhi Crime review is brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.

Creator: Richie Mehta

Review: India is huge and many things happen all around the country every day. But sometimes things happen that forever change the nation and leave their mark on history. Sometimes they make us proud. But the events that transpired in Delhi on 16th December 2012 was not one of them. The sexual assault on a moving bus that shook the nation. The Netflix original Delhi Crime is a police procedural that offers us a peek into the lives of the law enforcement officers tasked with nabbing the perpetrators of the heinous crime. It mainly follows the DCP of South Delhi Vartika Chaturvedi (Shefali Shah) as she battles against time and cracks the case with the help of her team under immense pressure from various quarters. Her character is based on Chhaya Sharma, the former deputy commissioner of police in Delhi.

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Shefali Shah is brilliant as a no-nonsense top cop who has a huge burden on her shoulders

Shefali Shah is brilliant as a no-nonsense top cop who has a huge burden on her shoulders. I found it very easy to empathize with her and that’s a hallmark of good writing. Her deputies are played by Gopal Dutt, Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang and Jaya Bhattacharya and they do a fine job as well. To be honest, everyone in the series acted their parts proficiently and I couldn’t have asked for more.

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Shefali Shah (L) and Rasika Dugal (R) sharing a poignant moment towards the end of the show

Let’s talk positives first. The cinematography has been done by Johan Heurlin Aidt and he uses shots of Delhi metro, the numerous checkpoints, traffic jams and engaging timelapses to paint a stunning picture of life in Delhi. The close ups are shot with a shallow depth of field to add a degree of intimacy to the proceedings. We also get a glimpse of the political blame game that ensued and the hypocrisy of media channel owners and editors. When the vivid details of the crime were being described by the on-screen police and doctors, I once again felt the same disgust that I had felt while watching news coverage in the December of 2012.

But nothing in this world is faultless and this show isn’t either. In an attempt to lionise the Delhi police and absolve them of all blame, Richie Mehta ignores some critical points about the case which is known to everyone who read news regularly. In reality, the cops had ignored the complaint of the man who had been robbed earlier by the same culprits on that fateful night. Mehta also tries his hand at moral shaming the victims when he tries to attribute the ghastly crime to the act of kissing between consenting adults.

Then there are the small things that no one supposedly noticed. But don’t worry, that’s why I’m here. I’ll tell you three flaws I observed. Rasika Dugal is clearly using a Xiaomi phone, evident from the call screen of her mobile multiple times. Now that’s highly unlikely for someone using a smartphone in 2012, because Xiaomi entered the Indian market in 2014. In one scene, we can read the word ‘Sirish’ clearly on the bus in the CCTV footage on the monitor, but no one else on screen can and only after the DCP arrives that the letters become legible. The details around the apprehension of the juvenile bus conductor Sonu is also mind boggling. I mean, it was shown in the series that he was using a stolen phone that the cops knew they had robbed, but no one had the bright idea to track it’s IMEI. Instead they rely on the descriptions of people at a bus stand who mislead them more than once. I’m not sure it happened this way.

Don’t get me wrong, this show is an absolute must watch for everyone, although it sometimes feels like a better version of Crime Patrol. It has tremendous acting, direction, background score and cinematography. But when it’s marketed as a truth-based drama, then I do have to rate it based on how the show holds against truth.

Rating: My rating for Delhi Crime is 3.5/5.

Who should watch this: If you like detective dramas and police procedurals, you will enjoy Delhi Crime. Also check out True Detective (2014), Mindhunter (2017), Broadchurch (2013), Mr Mercedes (2017), The Killing (2011) and The Fall (2013).

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