What is the series about and where is it shown?
Delhi Crime is a Hindi and English language Netflix Original crime drama series. The series dramatises the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, which involved a rape and assault in Munirka. The series debuted in the UK on Netflix in March 2019.
The series follows the Delhi police, led by DCP Vartika Chaturvedi, as they attempt to find the men responsible for the crime. As the series unfolds, the drama focuses on how India reacted to the crimes, including episodes which follow the protests which are triggered across Delhi, as well as the ongoing conversation about the safety of women in the country.
After the series was released, the Delhi Police Station House Officer took legal action against the director because of the portrayal of a police officer as being "dumb and slow". The director, Richie Mehta issued an apology and has mentioned that the series is a reconstruction which is a blend of fact and fiction.
What are the classification issues in the series?
The series begins with the aftermath of the rape and assault, so there are no depictions of sexual violence on-screen. However, there are graphic references to the gang rape throughout which are disturbing and unsettling. This includes scenes in which the doctor informs the police about the internal injuries sustained by the woman, and episodes which focus on the interrogations in which the rapists confess to their crimes in detail.
There is also a scene of strong injury detail in the first episode which shows the woman being taken to the hospital after the attack. This includes repeated shots of her bloodied face. There is also use of strong language throughout the series.
Is the BBFC particularly concerned about such themes?
At the beginning of this year, we published the new BBFC Classification Guidelines after a public consultation which involved more than 10,000 people. One of the key findings of the research was that attitudes towards sexual violence and sexual threat have moved on since the previous Guidelines consultation in 2013. Although the BBFC has always had a strict policy when classifying depictions of sexual violence, we have now given sexual violence its own section in the Guidelines and set out the factors the public tell us should lead to a higher rating. The consultation also confirmed that people are more concerned when it comes to depictions of 'real world' scenarios
When a BBFC Compliance Officer viewed the series, they considered: the appeal of the work; the presentation of the issues; the intensity and treatment of the issues.
There is more information about our public consultations here, including information about the research methods, details of the opinions of parents and teenagers, and also what we were told by viewers of South Asian films in the UK.
How did the BBFC classify the episodes?
The series was submitted under the BBFC's 'Watch & Rate' service for online only content, and viewed by a Compliance Officer who can speak Hindi and was expert in content aimed at South Asian Audiences.
In the case of all South-Asian works we classify, we try to recognise the specific sensibilities of South Asian audiences by ensuring that the Compliance Officer who is viewing the South-Asian work has a thorough understanding of the culture.
This is also for language interpretation, but also to assess receptivity of the intended and likely audiences.
The BBFC has a statutory duty to classify video released on physical media such as DVD and Blu-ray in the UK. Though Video on Demand platforms do not need to submit their content for BBFC classification by law, many, including Netflix, do. The BBFC uses the same Classification Guidelines and age ratings (U, PG, 12, 15, 18) for Video On Demand content as it does for physical media.
The BBFC classified all of the episodes with a 15 age rating, which means we do not consider these episodes suitable for viewers under the age of 15.
Why did the series not go up to 18?
At the 15 category, the BBFC Guidelines state that "There may be strong verbal references to sexual violence but any depiction of the stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, must not be detailed or prolonged. A strong and sustained focus on sexual threat is unacceptable."
There are no depictions of sexual violence, so the strong verbal references to sexual violence are containable at the 15 category. Although the references are quite frequent throughout the work, the stronger references to the attack are contextually justified within the drama. The crime is clearly disapproved of throughout, and the series is predominantly shown from the perspective of the police officers who are attempting to bring justice for the victim.
Were there warnings for viewers about the scenes?
BBFC ratings info provides concise explanations for why each episode, and the series as a whole, received specific BBFC age ratings. We publish ratings info for all works on the main BBFC website. Delhi Crime is rated 15 for references to sexual violence, strong language, injury detail.