BENGALURU: The trailer of A Big Little Murder begins with a scene of conundrum at a school, where viewers learn a young student has been killed. It then goes on to show a long trail of blood droplets and smeared stains on the wall. The promo explains why Mayurica Biswas – executive producer and creative director of the true crime documentary based on the murder of a seven-year-old in a private school in Gurugram – called the two-part series a ‘tough watch’. Biswas, along with creative director Pracheta Sharma, has spent the past year shooting and producing the film, and wrapped up work on the same on January 16, two days ahead of its Asiawide premiere on Singapore’s Channel, NewsAsia.
Incidentally, the film’s editor and commissioning editor in Singapore are also women, making this a women-led documentary. The series doesn’t have any voiceover, since the makers wanted viewers to watch the proceedings with objectivity. “This wasn’t a whodunnit. Investigators said the accused, who was later revealed to be a teenager, had carried out the act to delay a parent-teacher meeting. We wanted to dig deeper and explore why someone would commit such a brutal crime,” says Biswas.
Work on the film began in January last year, with filming taking place from March to October. Recreating the crime scene was a big challenge for the team since they weren’t given access to CCTV footage, and had to rely on CCTV camera logs instead. “It’s like a written description of the scene and we had to piece the act together. For example, camera one would record the accused person’s position at a certain time and camera two would log his position a couple of minutes later. So, we had to first understand the angles and then visualise what the scene must have been,” explains Biswas.
During the making, the team were frequent visitors at courtroom hearings and tried their best in ensuring that all facts shown in the film are accurate. “We never relied on newspaper reports and corroborated information three times over. We cross-checked everything with the chargesheet and supporting documents and relied on witness statements as well,” explains Biswas. She adds that any progress that was speculative in nature was left out and interviews with prime witnesses were deliberately given a miss since the case is sub-judice.
Their frequent visits to the courtroom also helped them convince the victim and accused’s parents to be a part of the film. The team started reaching out to them in February but the parents were too hesitant then. “They kept seeing us at hearings and noticed that we had read all the documents. Eventually, we were able to convince them that we were not looking to sensationalise the case at all and they agreed,” says Biswas.
As a mother herself, Biswas found it difficult to work on a case of this nature, especially while talking to the parents of both the victim and the accused. Taking a breather, however, was not possible due to tight deadlines.
“All the pain and effort will be worth it if we manage to spark a conversation through our film or stop another similar incident from taking place,” she says.
A Big Little Murder is available for viewing on www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video-on-demand/big-little-murder/death-of-a-school-boy-11135456.