In 2008, a sensational double murder case in Noida rocked the nation. Aarushi Talwar, a 14-year-old girl was found murdered on her bed as her parents slept in the next room of the same house. And while the blame was pinned on the family’s domestic help, Hemraj – the case turned on its head when his body was found on the terrace of the house, two days later!
‘Aarushi – Beyond Reasonable Doubt’, a four part series directed by Mayurica Biswas delves back into the happenings of that fateful night and tries to make sense of all that followed after. The release of the series coincided with the release of Aarushi’s parents after 5 years of prison time.
Back in 2008, the media coverage of the case drew a lot of flak for it’s speculative, voyeuristic and judgmental approach. And even more, the slipshod investigation by the UP Police, which left a lot to be desired – where simple procedures like cordoning off the crime scene were not followed. Which of course led to further complications, investigative botch-ups and inconclusive findings. What came as a final blow to Arushi’s parents Nupur and Rajesh Talwar was that when CBI reopened the case in 2012 at their very own insistence, they ended up becoming implicated.
So, for a case that has been in the media limelight, received ample coverage over the years not just from news publications and channels but also has a book written on it and a feature film on the subject what new perspective would an investigative series bring?
Well, for starters the opening montage hooks you with its haunting music and well-crafted visuals. That done, what follows is an intriguing build up by different voices related to the case by way of being close friends and family of Aarushi, journalists who have covered the story over the years and investigating officers and CBI officials who handled the case. With no narrator stringing the facts together, it’s these voices that take the story forward.
As the four part series charts the timeline of events and investigations from May 2008 to October 2017 layer after layer of this intriguing case is unraveled. The interviews and file footage of the crime and coverage, intercut with each other bring out new facets to the story keeping the viewer on the edge. The producers of the documentary travel to secluded villages in Nepal to trace the family of the domestic help to get in their side of the story.
And again once more in a thrilling sequence to hunt down other former suspects in the case. Key witnesses are probed. International experts on body language and blood splatter give their independent opinions on crime scene photos and archival footage adding new dimensions to the story.
Its investigative storytelling at its best where unseen videos of the family in happier times make for a poignant juxtaposition against the chilling details of the case including findings of narco analysis tests.
Realms of research by way of court documents, testimonies and appeals, forensic reports, CBI closure reports, interviews with key characters take cinematic proportions as the edit, sound design and the background score add in make it a compelling watch. One that will give you goose-bumps and make you binge watch for sure.
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