Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi review

Indian Predator
Indian Predator

Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi review/ Last year, Netflix released an Indian true-crime docu-series House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths, which garnered a global audience. The series on the death of 11 family members in Delhi was praised for its engaging writing and deep psychological exploration.

Indian Predator

However, the recently released Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi, on the other hand, lacks both its writing and its exploration of the subject’s psyche, instead focusing on the brutality of the serial killer at the centre. This is disappointing, given that the case is no ordinary one.

Indian hunter tells about the investigation of one of the most gruesome serial killers in the history of the country, Chandrakant Jha. He was convicted in 2013 for three gruesome murders between 2003 and 2007.

The popularity of the case has waned over the years, and that’s also not in favor of the manufacturers. The Burari incident had not yet elapsed and hence got the advantage of being popular in the public consciousness.

Right early in the day, we get a glimpse of what the documentary is going through with a rudimentary montage of high officials revealing information about a killer. Minutes into the opening monologue, we see a top cop saying the monotonous true-crime cliché, “I’ve never seen a case like this in 23 years.”

The Butcher of Delhi

The wonderful title design we get then gives some hope, even reminiscent of a Hannibal Lecter-like figure, but the first episode hardly breaks out of clichés.

On 20 October 2006, a mysterious caller informed the Delhi Police that he had left a dead body near the Gate 3 entrance of Tihar Jail. Police found the mutilated body of a middle-aged man, which was neatly packed and kept inside a basket of fruits.

The story eventually opens in one of the most shocking investigations ever. Chandrakant, a common migrant worker from Bihar, has been found to be the killer. How the Delhi Police caught him, it also seems straightforward.

But what really grabs us is how the investigation goes, uncovering the gruesome truth about a broken man with a shockingly-dark past.

The material at hand is powerful, but director Ayesha Sood hardly scratches the story beyond the surface. While experts monitor the investigation, we are repeatedly shown blood splatters of gruesome murders.

The actor who plays Chandrakant also plays the role, but he has hardly anything to do, except randomly and stabbing men to death. From a point onwards, it becomes very monotonous and sometimes becomes a hindrance to the narrative.

The second and third episodes get better, especially as the investigation goes back to its roots, uncovering the killer’s other alleged crimes. The passages set in Bihar, in particular, give us a deeper understanding of the killer’s psyche.

The Butcher of Delhi review

Here too, it’s disappointing that we never get to see an actual mental health professional talk about who Chandrakant is. Instead we get expert opinion from police officers and a forensic investigator, who spent quite some time beating around the same bush.

The show tries to speak about the socio-economic factors that played a role in Chandrakant’s life, but the exploration feels shallow and unconvincing.

Unlike many other true-crime accounts, both the murderer and the victim come from the poorest sections of society. Most victims are destitute and are lured into food, shelter, or companionship.

This could have been an opportunity to explore the importance of mental health awareness among the lower economic classes, when mental health issues are ironically trivialized as belonging to the upper classes.

Moreover, the Indian hunter also apparently stays away from Chandrakant’s allegations of police brutality. We keep hearing about how his taunts at the police were all attempts to challenge the system, and are informed that this anger stems from his misfortune with prominent figures in his life like his mother. But none of the officers that Chandrakant refers to are questioned.

The series could have been a fascinating documentary if it had pushed the envelope more. It certainly has its moments, but the milking of the shock value of a criminal case only gets you so far.

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