Documentary filmmaker Ayesha Sood, whose true-crime series Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi is streaming currently on Netflix, says that during the shoot there were times when sources backed out from appearing in front of the camera.
“There were many who were not comfortable with being in front of the camera. They just shared stories on chats. Especially Chandrakant’s family. It was a traumatic experience for them. They initially agreed to face the camera but backed out at the last moment,” says Ayesha.
The series tells the story of Chandrakant Jha, a serial killer who was active in West Delhi between 1998 and 2007. He was infamous for dismembering his victims after killing them and dumping their bodies around the city, even in front of the high-security Tihar Jail. Like the Zodiac Killer of the US, Chandrakant also sent letters to the police mocking them and poking holes in the investigation procedure.
He received two death sentences and life imprisonment until death in February, 2013. His death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment without remission in January 2016. The murderer, who worked as a street hawker, married twice, abandoning his first wife in a year. He has five daughters from his second wife and lived mostly away from his family.
“It was around May 2020 when Vice India approached me to direct Indian Predator. I was presented with a pool of cases and found Chandrakant’s story very intriguing,” says Ayesha. “The first step was to get all the material available for the public, this included the case documents.”
We asked Ayesha if there were any problems while dealing with the police. “They were actually very cooperative. They shared case files and materials and even stepped up to tell the story into the camera.”