Netflix drama takes on India gang-rape case

Film-maker Richie Mehta was at first reluctant to make Netflix's latest Indian series Delhi Crime, documenting the aftermath of the notorious gang-rape and murder of an Indian student that made global headlines.

Ms Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was violently raped and assaulted and left for dead by five men and a teenager on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012. The horrific crime shone an international spotlight on India's high levels of sexual violence, and sparked weeks of protests and eventually a change in the law to introduce the death penalty for rape.

"Initially I was against the idea. I thought it was inappropriate for anyone to do it," the Indian-Canadian director said.

"But after I read the verdict and met some of the officers involved, I was amazed. The verdict detailed the manhunt and who these people were and how they were found. I realised this analysis of hunting these guys is also a way of understanding why these things happen."

Delhi Crime, a seven-part series filmed in English and Hindi and written and directed by Mehta, premieres on Netflix today. It stars Shefali Shah (Monsoon Wedding) as the lead investigating officer, and also features Adil Hussain (Life Of Pi) and Denzil Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).

The thriller recreates the police investigation, tracing the pursuit of the six men behind the shocking crime.

Four of the adults accused received death sentences, while one died in prison in a suspected suicide. The teenager was released after three years in a youth detention home.

Mehta spent four years interviewing police officials.

"When the crime happened, there was a lot of anger pointed toward this institution. But when I got to know their point of view I realised the police were trying their best, especially given the statistics.

"As we say at the start of the show: 11,000 heinous crimes are reported every year (in Delhi). Prevention is nearly impossible with half the police force stuck on traffic duty and VIP protection'," he said. - AFP