Home Web system Interview: Ayesha Sood, director of Indian Predator The Butcher of Delhi | Web series

Interview: Ayesha Sood, director of Indian Predator The Butcher of Delhi | Web series


In October 2006, a dismembered and decapitated body was found neatly wrapped outside gate number 3 of Delhi’s Tihar prison. It was accompanied by a handwritten letter, written by someone who took credit for the murder, saying he did it as a way to get revenge on the Delhi police for falsely imprisoning him years later. early. Indian Predator: The Butcher Of Delhi, a new three-part documentary series on Netflix from VICE India, seeks to tell the story of violent killer Chandrakant Jha and the ensuing investigation into his murderous rampage, believed to be the one of the worst in Delhi’s history. Read also : Indian Predator The Butcher of Delhi, a chilling serial killer show

The Butcher of Delhi joins Netflix India’s rapidly expanding portfolio of true-crime docu-series after Leena Yadav’s Burari Deaths and the innocuous Crime Stories: India Detectives. Directed by Ayesha Sood, The Butcher Of Delhi tells an electrifying story that offers more twists and turns than most fictional crime thrillers can conjure up. While the first two episodes explore the horrific crimes and the psychology of the man responsible for them, the third episode revolves around the plight of migrants and raises important questions about the ethical considerations of documentary filmmaking.

In a spoiler-filled interview, I spoke to director Ayesha Sood about Chandrakant’s story, the politics of getting the truth in India, and the responsibilities that come with making a series about such a horrific crime. Edited excerpts:

It’s such a compelling story with so many insane twists and turns. It’s almost like you’re telling the story of a serial killer who literally acts like he wants a documentary to be made about him one day. How did you find out about Chandrakant’s story?

Vice India had a set of stories that were in various stages of research and development and Chandrakant’s case was one of them. Then you continue to study and research to see if there is enough material in terms of archival material and if people are willing to come on camera and so on. And this story had it all. But also, although living in Delhi, I had not heard of this affair at all, which fascinated me. That this bold and brutal crime happened and we barely heard about it in our press.

Indian Predator The Butcher of Delhi deals with the crimes of CC Killer of Delhi aka Chandrakant Jha.

The ending is a bit confusing because in one scene you tell us he’s on parole and in the next scene we’re told he’s still in jail. So to confirm, is he on parole?

He was eligible for parole, it’s the right of everyone in prison, but since 2020 he’s been breaking the code and his parole has been denied. So the actual status is that he’s in jail and probably won’t be released for the foreseeable future.

True crime documentaries are built on trust and transparency and audiences believe in the facts and the story you tell. I imagine that is much more difficult to achieve in India where there are so many more obstacles to getting the truth. For example, when you talk to the police, there’s always this fear that people will try to present themselves a certain way or push their own agenda. How do you approach these aspects to get to the truth?

It’s always going to be hard, especially in a documentary where it’s not scripted. Everyone will tell you their truth. You have to be really immersed in the material and really know its facts as much as possible, to push them in a certain direction. They will tell you the truth as they see it and remember it, and memory is a delicate and capricious thing. Facts change, you glory in your own story and so on. You just need to make sure you know the material you want to present and are able to lead the conversation. There’s no way to extract what you want from someone else’s mouth. If you find it’s actually completely off, you need to pick up a call and mute it. You cannot use it.

What makes it so captivating is Chandrakant’s dance with the police and how he really exposes how broken the system is. It’s so interesting how far he was able to go. He literally had to keep committing murders to be taken seriously and have any real resources to track him down. Was policing failure something you wanted to explore further?

You know you can see it in two ways. There are failures, but they also managed to catch up. They are very aware of what they are up against and their failures. They know where they missed. Also, keep in mind that the Delhi police are very busy. The amount of time and resources they can devote to things like gathering evidence and investigating, given what they’re up against, is still pretty impressive. The system, of course. we hope it would be better. Like next time, enact legislation and put systems in place that make it easier for the police to do their job. For example, we have a police officer who says there is no integrated database. Or why don’t interstate police departments talk to each other?

Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi began streaming on Netflix on July 20.

A big part of how you bring this story to life on the show is in the dramatized re-enactments and voiceovers where you have actors playing Chandrakant and his victims. It adds a lot of impact to the show, but what responsibilities do you have when you take such dramatic liberties?

I would say all the dramatizations are based on criminal records or what key characters and witnesses have told us. Especially when it comes to MO. A lot of that we couldn’t actually ask people to describe on camera because it was too awful, like when they were discussing how the neck was cut and things like that. So we chose to dramatize it to make it easier to digest. And there is no getting around the brutality of this case. It’s brutal and you have to be able to face it to tell this story. I think the balance is making sure that we don’t glorify a situation or make its voice the voice of God.

I imagine that’s a strange position to make a documentary about a killer who is still alive and may well be on parole soon. How do you make sure you approach the story responsibly? For example at the end of the last episode, you have the son of one of Chandrakant’s victims saying on camera that he wants to kill Chandrakant. Couldn’t that put him in a dangerous position?

Like I said, he probably won’t be away for the foreseeable future. I think what was expressed by the son of Anil Mandal (the victim) is a sense of revenge for being wronged and I think that is his point of view to express. Would he one day have the opportunity to meet Chandrakant? I don’t think that’s likely.

You say in the last episode that you tried to talk to him and you were denied permission. What was that process like and was there ever a chance you would have access to it? What would you ask him?

Since the daughter of BBC Documentary India, the laws have changed and you cannot install cameras in Tihar. And now with the pandemic, it’s even more difficult. But if I could, I would have asked so much of her and probably needed a whole other episode. You want to hear his side of the story. Obviously, we spoke to his lawyer and we know from him that Chandrakant does not believe him guilty. He is very clear about his position.

But does he confess to the murders to the police?

It is complicated. He is very intelligent. He admits some things and denies others. He understands the system and knows how to play it.