EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Netflix has landed Indian anthology drama series Delhi Crime, with what I hear is a two-season order. The series (original title Delhi Crime Story) hails from award winning Canadian-Indian auteur Richie Mehta; Golden Karavan, the Mumbai-based venture of leading TV producer Aaron Kaplan, media investor Jeff Sagansky, Florence Sloan, Apoorva Bakshi, Pooja Kohli and Sanjay Bachani; as well as John Penotti, Michael Hogan and Kilian Kerwin’s Ivanhoe Pictures (Crazy Rich Asians).
The deal was made on the eve of Delhi Crime‘s Jan. 29 world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the Indie Episodic category. I hear it covers the already produced seven-episode first season in addition to a second installment. Season 1 of the police-procedural thriller will debut on Netflix worldwide March 22.
Delhi Crime marks Kaplan’s 10th on-air series and second on Netflix, joining Santa Clarita Diet, which he executive produces through Kapital Entertainment.
The first season of Delhi Crime is inspired by and follows the notorious December 2012 investigation by the Delhi Police into the horrific gang rape of a young woman, which reverberated across India and the world. It captures the complexities of the scrutiny, the emotional toll on the investigating team, and their determination to bring the perpetrators to justice in a fraught environment.
The police officer overseeing the case is played by Shefali Shah (Monsoon Wedding), who leads a cast that includes Adil Hussain (Life of Pi), Denzil Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Rasika Dugal (Qissa), Rajesh Tailang (Siddharth) and Yashaswini Dayama (Dear Zindagi).
Mehta (Amal, Siddharth) conceived the series during a conversation with Neeraj Kumar, a former Commissioner of the Delhi Police, who introduced him to the investigating team, and offered access to hundreds of pages of legal documents that were prepared as part of investigation. That led to six years of research by the filmmaker.
“The making of Delhi Crime has been a personally transformative journey; speaking to every individual involved, retracing the paths that the police took during the course of the investigation, and hearing of the determination that it took for the case to be closed, despite severe limitations,” Mehta said. “I hope that we’ve been able to provide context, catharsis and open once again a difficult conversation that must be had about the forces that enabled this brutality.”
Serving as executive producers for Golden Karavan are Kaplan, Sagansky, Sloan, Bakshi, Kohli and Bachani. Executive producers from Ivanhoe Pictures are Penotti, Kerwin, and Hogan. Producing are Robert Friedland, Sidney Kimmel, and Brian Kornreich for Ivanhoe Pictures.
Delhi Crime was one of the inaugural series greenlighted by Golden Karavan at the 2017 launch of the self-financing production company aimed at creating and financing original high-end TV content for OTT and digital services. The company plans to produce 20 series in the next five years. For Kaplan, the financial involvement falls outside of his CBS Corp. joint venture.
Delhi Crime was independently financed by Golden Karavan and Ivanhoe and shot on location in New Delhi before the finished first season was submitted to Sundance and shopped to the major streaming platforms, attracting interest from multiple buyers.
“Delhi Crime is an important story told with sensitivity and responsibility, and we are honored to help bring this series to Indian and global members,” said Simran Sethi, Director, International Originals, Netflix. “It is honest and emotional and powerful. Shows like this bring a much-needed lens to the lived reality of women around the world. Watching this series is an affecting experience, and we are sure it will be as meaningful of an experience for Netflix audiences as it was for us.”
The second season will follow many of the same characters as the cops tackle a new crime.
The deal was negotiated by Robert Jesuele on behalf of Golden Karavan and Brian Kornreich on behalf of Ivanhoe Pictures.