Interview with Uraaz Bahl and Shaana Levy, the makers of Netflix’s ‘The Indrani Mukerjea Story’


Virtually a decade in the past, it was a narrative that riveted the nation and dominated the information cycle. The disappearance and homicide of 25-year-old Sheena Bora unveiled an internecine household drama that put to disgrace the wildest of masala potboilers. 

A file picture of Sheena Bora who was allegedly murdered by her mom Indrani Mukerjea in 2012.
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To recap, Sheena disappeared in April 2012; three years later, her sister, media maven Indrani Mukerjea (who turned out to be her mom), was arrested for the homicide together with Indrani’s driver and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna. Just a few months later, Sheena’s stepfather and Indrani’s then husband, Peter Mukerjea, former CEO of Star TV, was additionally arrested. As particulars had been made public, it turned out that Sheena was relationship Rahul Mukerjea, her stepfather’s son from his earlier marriage. Confused? 

With its myriad twists, this head-spinning case had all of the makings of an ideal cinematic story. A brand new Netflix documentary sequence, titled The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Fact, now brings to life this stranger-than-fiction saga. It was delayed from airing on its unique launch date of February 23 by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which argued that the case was ongoing and the sequence may affect the result. The Bombay High Court later rejected the CBI petition.

Like peeling an onion

Directed by Uraaz Bahl and Shaana Levy, the husband-wife duo behind Girls First (2017), the award-winning documentary on Olympic archer Deepika Kumari, the gripping four-part sequence options appearances by key gamers within the case, together with Indrani herself and her third baby, Vidhie. The documentary peels again the curtain on Indrani’s life, together with her early years in Assam and West Bengal, in addition to her excessive society life amongst Mumbai’s swish set.

“All of us love a thriller and true crime means that you can faux you might be an investigative journalist, or detective,” says Shaana, explaining why the case continues to fascinate the general public. “The truth that this can be a actual story informed to you by actual folks has a degree of authenticity,” Uraaz provides. “There may be actually a little bit of voyeurism, you understand, how the mighty have fallen, that sort of factor.” Conspiracy theories abound on the involvement of high cops and politicians. “It was this onion you stored on peeling to seek out totally different components of the story,” Shaana says.

Shaana Levy and Uraaz Bahl, the directors of ‘The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth’.

Shaana Levy and Uraaz Bahl, the administrators of ‘The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Fact’.
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Getty Photos

Shaana, 40, and Uraaz, 47, spent 5 years engaged on the sequence. That they had simply completed a documentary quick on Indian nanny Sandra Samuel, who saved two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg throughout the 26/11 Mumbai terror assaults, once they determined to sort out the sensational Indrani Mukerjea story. “It was a narrative that every one of us had been obsessive about,” says Uraaz, a Mumbai-born and -bred self-described ‘unintentional’ filmmaker whose day job entails actual property investing. He learnt the ropes of filmmaking by watching YouTube movies.

Assembly the half-Indian, half-Swiss Shaana, a once-aspiring actor, within the late 2000s in Mumbai might have inspired him to make the leap. Their relationship was sparked by a mutual love for movie. Shaana, who grew up in London, had been forged in a Bollywood film in 2007, which introduced her to Mumbai and finally the manufacturing aspect of the enterprise. “I began my profession in theatre however filmmaking and telling tales, whether or not in entrance of or behind the digicam, has been my ardour,” she says. 

Entry to key gamers 

The series prominently features Vidhie Mukerjea, Indrani’s third child.

The sequence prominently options Vidhie Mukerjea, Indrani’s third baby.
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Courtesy of Netflix

The couple is actually keen about filmmaking and has labored with groups — editors, cinematographers, and producers — in Los Angeles and all over the world. The documentary does a stellar job of reporting the story. Riveting scenes embody one the place Indrani asks for the digicam to cease rolling when her lawyer is talking and the lawyer responds by asking Indrani to “chill out” and never interrupt his move of thought. That’s pure documentary gold.

Within the intervening 5 years of the documentary’s making, the couple managed to have two infants — Shaana jokingly calls the sequence their third child. Researching the case took time however so did getting access to the important thing gamers, together with Indrani, who was in jail until 2022. “The case stored evolving, we had an unimaginable crew doing archival analysis with us,” Shaana says. The sequence additionally contains interviews with attorneys and journalists to offer context.

File photo of Indrani with her then husband Peter Mukerjea.

File picture of Indrani along with her then husband Peter Mukerjea.
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In keeping with the filmmakers, Indrani was “very skilled on set, at all times arrived on time and got here properly ready for the interview. She is a particularly clever lady who is aware of each facet of her case. We didn’t know Indrani earlier than making this documentary and had the chance to interview her twice a number of months aside. This allowed us to begin with Indrani’s backstory and lead as much as tougher questions. Indrani not often refused to reply any of our questions,” says Shaana. 

Lately Indrani, who wrote a memoir final yr, could be seen on Instagram (she has 1.2 million followers), travelling to the Andamans and posting her dance routines. She maintains her innocence. The courtroom case continues. 

“Once we began this, we thought the case was going to get resolved,” says Shaana. The filmmakers disclose originally of the sequence that it’s primarily based on publicly out there info. “We tried to offer a balanced point-of-view and stored ready for a verdict. However in a method, that made us work more durable to ensure we did justice to the subject material.”

The author is a Mumbai-based journalist and writer.

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