Lead actress Shefali Shah is in Park City, Utah, for the premiere of her upcoming series Delhi Crime at the Sundance Film Festival. The web-series, inspired by the real-life Nirbhaya case which shocked the nation in 2012, revolves around the team of Delhi police offices who investigate a rape case and bring in the accused.
Just before the world premiere of the series in the Indie Episodic Section on 29 January, the news broke that Netflix bought worldwide rights of the seven-episode series, directed by Richie Mehta, and would stream the first season on 22 March.
Shah spoke about her happiness that the series would receive a global audience, both with the Sundance premiere and the eventual airing on Netflix. “I am very excited that this is the first Indian series which is going to Sundance, it’s a fantastic start and even before the news was out and irrespective of I kept telling Richie, I knew this is a show we all deserve to be proud of,” she stated.
The actress plays DCP Vartika Chaturvedi in the series. Her character has been based on the real-life police officer who investigated the Delhi rape case. It was a part she placed a great deal of importance on, also because of its sensitive nature as well.
“To play a real-life character the responsibility is far more because it’s not just based on your imagination or a fictional story. The incident was so traumatic even when we look back; it had to be dealt with utmost sensitivity” Shah explained. “This was not an ordinary cop; she along with her team was constantly at the station and hunted the rapists in 72 hours. For every cop there is one case which becomes personal, this particular case was personal for [Vartika]”.
Shah also spoke about working with writer-director Richie Mehta about the character and basing the show on real-life events.
“[Mehta] had facts, years of research, honesty, sensitivity and the passion to lead us. And yet he didn’t want to lead me, he wanted me to collaborate with him on this. Creating Vartika along with Richie has been an enriching experience. The process was very consuming and gratifying and I couldn’t have done it alone,” she said.
“Delhi Crime is a story of brutality, but also one of hope and triumph over that brutality. It is a story of injustice against a woman and the fight of another woman to correct it and bring justice to her. The police officer on whom it’s based is an incredibly inspirational figure and it’s a huge opportunity to be associated with the project. I hope that Netflix members everywhere in the world watch, feel and empathize with this story,” she continued.
Shah was last seen as a widow, Tara, in Kanwal Sethi’s Once Again (2018) with actor Neeraj Kabi. Coincidentally, the film was also premiered on Netflix before getting a limited release in theatres on 8 December.