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Shefali Shah: Delhi Crime makes you question what all goes into making a criminal

Delhi Crime Season 2, also starring Mirzapur actress Rasika Duggal, will be available to stream on Netflix from August 26

PTI Published 22.08.22, 10:53 AM
Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime S2

Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime S2 @shefalishahofficial/Instagram

Is someone a 'born criminal' or does society play a role in creating one? This is the central conflict that will be explored in the second season of Delhi Crime, says actress Shefali Shah.

Shefali, who returns as DCP Vartika Chaturvedi in the upcoming installment of the acclaimed Netflix drama, said this time the police procedural series is more reflective in nature in comparison to the first chapter.


“I see the growth in these characters who have been loved. The beauty of Delhi Crime is that it makes you question what all goes into making a criminal,” she said in an interview over Zoom.

“Is it just as simple as pointing a finger on somebody? How has the society, how have I contributed to the good and the bad? It's a lot of this stuff, which is so deep,” the 49-year-old added.

Returning with the second season of a popular and awarded show like Delhi Crime was tough, she said. But what kept the team going was approaching the two chapters as two “individual shows”.

Besides different cases being under investigation, a lot has changed from Season 1 to Season 2.

Filmmaker Richie Mehta, who directed the first chapter, is attached as the creator of season two, which is directed and show-run by Tanuj Chopra.

What remains the same is the core of Delhi Crime, added Shefali.

“They are individual shows... In Delhi Crime first season, the case is different. This is a different story being told by a different creator. At the same time, the core, soul and grain of DC isn't going to waver,” said Shefali.

The first season, which premiered in 2019, followed the 2012 case of the gangrape and murder of the physiotherapy intern, who was assaulted on a cold December night in a moving bus by six men and died of her grievous injuries 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.

The new chapter sees Delhi Police probe a spate of serial killings, leading to fears about the resurgence of the notorious ‘kachcha-baniyan gang’, which was at its peak in the 1990s.

Shefali likened her character and the show to a tree that has “spread out” over the years.

“There has been growth in the show, in the story, and in the characters. When I say growth, there is a tree that grows upward and then there is a tree that grows sideways, and it spreads out. I see that growth in Vartika. Good, bad, ugly, whatever. It's far more spread out, intricate and complex,” she added.

Delhi Crime also has the distinction of being the first Indian show to have won the best drama series honour at the International Emmy Awards in 2020.

According to Shefali, there was no question of “competing” with the previous season.

“When you create something beautiful, you leave it there. You get inspired and you create something more beautiful. The logical sense was ‘Let's not try (to match), it's not a competition,” she said.

In Season 1, there was a case and these characters came into play. The new installment starts with the characters who investigate a case of serial murders.

The agony and anger of the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder was channelled in Delhi Crime part one, which felt “personal”, said Shefali, adding that the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” was clear.

“In Season 1, there was no wavering of the moral compass. It was very clear that these are the bad guys. Over here, it's not as simple as that... In one, it became a thing of passion, an obsession for her. In two, you realise that she does this every day,” said Shefali.

“The first one came only from the heart. In the second one, she is made to question herself. And in one, when she gets the guys, it is a sense of achievement. In two, there is no victory. Unfortunately, there is nothing won out of it,” the National Award winner said.

As per Shefali, her character shifts from being a “hero” to “human” in Season 2. She said the show will leave the audience questioning day-to-day events that bear significance in pushing someone towards good or bad.

“Here, she makes mistakes. She's left constantly having an internal debate. And when she makes mistakes, she doesn't shy away from apologising or correcting them, even if it is at the cost of her own success,” the actress added.

Playing DCP Vartika Chaturvedi came as a turnaround for the actress, who said she was “scared” about reprising what she described as a “bookmark character” who is so loved and respected.

“When I was going back there, I kept thinking, 'How am I going to match up to her?' Everyone around me had more confidence than me. But that uniform really does something. When I step back into those shoes, there's something that just comes into me,” she said.

Season 2 of Delhi Crime comes weeks after the premiere of the acclaimed hit film Darlings, which starred Shefali as a domestic abuse survivor who aspires to run a successful tiffin service.

The actress said she is grateful for all the love coming her way for both the projects.

Delhi Crime Season 2 is something I have waited for since the first one dropped and with Darlings... what a beautiful film, what a dream cast and crew. To have Jasmeet helm and take us ahead with it... It feels amazing. What is really interesting for me as an actor is that you're going to see me as two drastically different people. It is exciting yet daunting,” she added.

Delhi Crime Season 2 also stars Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang, Adil Hussain, Anurag Arora, Yashaswini Dayama, Sidharth Bhardwaj, Gopal Dutt, Denzil Smith, Tillotama Shome, Jatin Goswami, Vyom Yadav and Ankit Sharma. The series will start streaming on Netflix from August 26.

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