Mumbai: With audiences for the format expanding and streaming services making them more accessible, documentaries have broken out from the stereotype of being just film festival fixtures.
Participating in a panel discussion titled 'Decoding Documentaries' here, filmmakers Claire Cahill, Dylan Mohan Gray and Leena Yadav shared their perspective on the genre. The discussion was hosted by Netflix.
Talking about the planning and research that goes into a documentary, Dylan Mohan Gray, who directed 'Bad Boy Billionaires', said: "So much of what we do in documentaries is about creating relationships of trust with different kinds of people. I understood the importance of diversity of voices and to allow the audience to triangulate what they felt about the story."
Gray continued: "In the course of my research I realised that the story is quite different from the one that was put out there, it's much more complex than that. The story is about many other things, it touched upon so many interesting aspects of Indian culture and society. That, to me, was fascinating."
'Crime Stories: India Detectives', on the other hand, centres around how the police cracked four cases. Sharing her pre-production experience, series producer Claire Cahill said that 'Crime Stories: India Detectives' took almost three years to be made.
"Our first trip to Bangalore was in 2018," Cahill said, recalling the preparations for the series. "When we started our conversations with the commissioner, we found that he was very responsive about the idea of making a series that followed live investigations."
Continuing her account, Cahil recalled: "These conversations progressed. We obtained all necessary permissions over a period of 18 months and the filming continued for over five months. The process of gaining trust, having conversations with all the parties in order to cover an investigation in the way we did, involved an enormous amount of work."
Leena Yadav, showrunner and co-director of the upcoming docu-feature 'House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths', recounted how difficult it was to get people who were a part of the incident to talk. "Those were very difficult conversations, I must admit," Yadav said.
'House of Secrets' recreates the horrific case of 11 members of a family in the Delhi neighbourhood of Burari died in their house as a result allegedly of an occult practice gone wrong.
Even while working on a film with such a gruesome storyline, there's invariably a moment worth remembering fondly. Yadav recalled one such "beautiful incident".
She said: "When we were interviewing members of the family, one of them came up to me and thanked me, saying that this was like therapy for him. That was when I felt we were doing the right thing. We covered 400 hours of interviews and having those conversations were definitely difficult and emotionally draining, but this has been a big learning for me." 'House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths' is releasing on Netflix on October 8.
Sharing the OTT platform's perspective, Tanya Bami, Director, International Originals, at Netflix India, said: "It is magical to sit in a room with a creator who has a vision and to go through that experience through their eyes. Netflix strives to bring creative excellence by enabling their vision. We want to narrate stories that are authentic and relevant."
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