Hitlist Web Awards | Shefali Shah on Delhi Crime: Harnessed my pain, anger into the role

Updated: 21 February, 2020 08:15 IST | Shaheen Parkar | Mumbai

As she bags a Best Actor (Female) nomination in the upcoming mid-day and Radio City Hitlist Web Awards, Shefali Shah discusses how Delhi Crime gave an outlet to her rage against the Nirbhaya rape case.

Delhi Crime still
Delhi Crime still

The shoot of Delhi Crime couldn't have been easy for Shefali Shah. Ever so often, she found herself pausing and reflecting on the gruesome nature of the crime. "The interrogation scene, where Jai Singh [one of the perpetrators] cruelly narrates the entire incident, made me want to throw up," begins Shah. Writer-director Richie Mehta's web series traces the aftermath of the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case as the cops nab the perpetrators. Shah as deputy commissioner of police Vartika Chaturvedi — who leads the investigation — was widely appreciated for her powerful act.

Breaking through the line of performance and reality is the most important step for me as an actor. Call it a weakness or a strength, but I can't act. I don't strive to be like the character; instead, I become the character," she says. That she was deeply invested in the story only added to her performance. "The pain and anger that I felt in December 2012 was harnessed by Vartika in her single-minded focus on catching those guys."

Delhi Crime

The actor reveals that she gave her nod to the project in less than five minutes. On his part, Mehta had dedicated years to studying the case before he began developing the material. "The first thing he said to me was, 'I don't want an actor. I want a collaborator. I've created what I could on paper. Now, I need you to take over and bring her to life.'"

She was driven as much by Mehta's faith in her as by the gripping material. "It was a story that had to be told. I was unaware of several aspects of the case until I read the script. It was the answer to the one question that we all asked: Why is no one doing anything about it? When I read the script, I realised there was someone who did something about the horrific event and caught the perpetrators. It felt empowering that it was a woman [at the helm of the investigation]."

Cast your vote for the Hitlist Web Awards

Shefali Shah has been nominated in the Best Actor (Female) category for Netflix's Delhi Crime. The other nominees are:

. Sobhita Dhulipala (Made in Heaven; Amazon Prime)

. Shweta Tripathi Sharma (Laakhon Mein Ek S02; Amazon Prime)

. Rasika Dugal (Out of Love; Hotstar)

. Geetanjali Kulkarni (Gullak; Sony LIV)

. Mithila Palkar (Little Things S03; Netflix)

. Dia Mirza (Kaafir; Zee5)

There are 14 categories that the public can vote in. Log on to www.hitlistwebawards.com to cast your vote.

You can also vote via SMS. Send HITLIST <space> category name <space> your choice (a/b/c/d as on the website) to 57575.

Voting lines close on March 8.

More about Delhi Crime

. Shefali Shah's character Vartika Chaturvedi is based on the erstwhile DCP of South Delhi, Chhaya Sharma, who cracked the Nirbhaya case and nabbed the criminals within three days of the incident.

. The rape scene was not recreated in the series as writer-director Richie Mehta did not want to cross the line of exploiting the gruesome act.

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First Published: 21 February, 2020 07:11 IST

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