Highlights from Netflix documentary panel discussion

Netflix held a panel discussion titled ‘Decoding Documentaries’, which involved several filmmakers relay their account on what goes into making a documentary and how India is slowly becoming a hub for the genre.

The event was curated by Kaveree Bamzai and the panelists included personalities such as Tanya Bami, Director of International Originals for Netflix India, as well as filmmakers Dylan Mohan Gray, Leena Yadav and Claire Cahill. All of these panelists have been heavily involved in recent documentaries that have been filmed in India.

The discussion was preceded by the trailer reveal of Leena’s upcoming project ‘House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths’, which examines the thrilling case of the death of 11 members of a Delhi family. Speaking on what drew her to shine a light on this particular case, Leena stated: “I wanted to know more, because I felt that whatever I was reading and whatever I had heard was just not enough and that’s what really drove me to tell this story.”

A prominent theme that was touched upon by Claire Cahill while working on ‘Crime Stories: India Detectives’ was gaining the complete trust of all the parties involved to make sure that the story is being portrayed accurately. The arduous effort that goes on behind the screens to cover all the bases is what makes a documentary truly successful.

Dylan Mohan Gray who was behind the chronicling of the life of Vijay Mallya in the first episode of ‘Bad Boy Billionaires: India’ shared his thoughts on the process that goes into covering such a flamboyant individual. He said: “One thing I’ve noticed is that by giving someone a chance to speak, a lot of people feel you’re endorsing them. But you’re not, you’re just allowing them to tell their truths which you may or may not agree with.”

Tanya Bami discussed the growing popularity of documentaries and unscripted content in India over the last 2-3 years. She also stated: “There is a lot of promise. It’s not about the genre, It’s about a story well told, a story that resonates, a story that tells the truth and how it all comes together to connect with people and then it doesn’t matter whether it’s a documentary or not.”

The success of documentaries like ‘Wild Wild Country’ in India took the executives at Netflix by surprise and opened their eyes towards a previously untapped market to produce more projects in the future.

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