Actor Rasika Dugal says she is grateful about the International Emmy award win for Delhi Crime, a series that she believes doesn't let the viewers forget the horrific night of December 16, 2012.
Directed by Richie Mehta, the Netflix India Original bagged the best drama series honour at the 48th International Emmy Awards on Monday night.
Told from the perspective of the Delhi Police team investigating the crime that made global headlines, "Delhi Crime" deconstructs the case of the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern who was abducted and gang-raped in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012 before she was abandoned on a Delhi road.
Her injuries were so grievous that she died in a Singapore hospital a fortnight later.
Like countless many, Dugal was outraged by the crime but eventually moved on in her life, the actor said. The show gave her a chance to revisit the case once again and come to terms with it.
"In some ways, this experience of working on Delhi Crime was almost cathartic for me. I felt it assuaged my guilt about moving on too quickly after this crime had happened.
"A lot of us felt a lot in December 2012, but once the din died around the case, then we all sort of slipped back into the complacency of our lives. Revisiting the story sort of assuaged that guilt for me in one sense," Dugal told PTI in an interview.
The 35-year-old actor played the role of idealistic young officer Neeti Singh opposite the likes of Shefali Shah, Adil Hussain and Rajesh Tailang.
Dugal said the show reminds the people of the country that they live in a society that allowed such a ghastly incident to happen.
"As a society, we are all responsible for what happened. Therefore, it is important to remember and not to forget. I think this serves as a reminder for all of us that we live in a society, which allowed a crime like this to happen.
"So revisiting it was not something that I was wanting to do. I think it is something that we all must do."
The show, released in 2019, received massive acclaim for its sensitive retelling of the crime that shook the entire nation. Performances by its ensemble cast were particularly appreciated.
Dugal, who most recently starred in Mirzapur and Mira Nair's A Suitable Boy, is happy for director Mehta for putting in a lot of hard work into the project.
"He's put in so many years of hard work and he had immersed himself in the project in such a special way. I have such deep respect and admiration for him. I'm so happy for him and so grateful that his work has been acknowledged."
The actor said she looks back at her experience of working on the series with a lot of gratitude as it allowed her to work with "extremely skilled and sensitive" people.
"With Delhi Crime, I don't feel celebratory about anything around it. Neither do I look at it as an opportunity for anything further. It's a lot of gratitude and honour for being able to be a part of a story like this, and to be able to go collaborate with extremely skilled and sensitive people.
"Beyond that, I think the true victory of the show would be if it reminds our society that we shouldn't allow crimes like this to happen and if it leads to all of us checking our discrimination and checking ourselves on inequality everyday," Dugal said.
Playing Neeti Singh in the series reminded Dugal of her days as a college student and how she looked at the world with a lot of hope.
"I find Neeti Singh very special and very endearing because she reminds me of how I was during my college days in Delhi university. I share that kind of idealism, that kind of sincerity towards your work and that kind of belief that your hard work has the ability to change the world.
"I still have some of it but not as much as Neeti Singh and not as much as I used to when I was in college," Dugal said.
"Delhi Crime" was nominated in the best drama series category alongside Germany's "Charite" season two, UK's "Criminal", and second season of "El Jardin de Bronce (The Bronze Garden)" from Argentina.
The International Emmy Awards are organised by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS) in recognition to the best television programs produced and aired outside the United States.
The awards are presented in November every year.