Review: Documentary on the suspected suicide of 11 people in Burari, shocks

House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths Review: Sanjeev Jha, a young man who came from Madhubani, Bihar and engaged in the social work of providing free education to slum children in Delhi, started his political journey in 2013. He contested the assembly elections on the ticket of Aam Aadmi Party. Elections were held again in 2015 and he won once again. Played the role of Sanjeev in Anna Hazare’s ‘India Against Corruption’. This worker associated with the land was prepared by Arvind Kejriwal to break into the BJP stronghold. Knowing all the education and politics on the one hand and facing the suspicious suicides committed by 11 people of the same family together in your constituency on the other. On June 1, 2018, the bodies of 11 people of Chundawat alias Bhatia family were found in a two-storey house of Sant Nagar in Burari, the assembly constituency of Sanjeev Jha. 10 were found hanging on the ceiling with a noose and the eldest, his mother, was strangled to death in another room. Not only Delhi, the whole country was shaken by this incident. The 3-episode true crime documentary ‘House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths’ on Netflix has tried to understand the psychology behind this crime.

Filmmaker Leena Yadav and her assistant Anubhav Chopra in her film ‘Rajma Chawal’ have jointly directed this dreaded and heart-wrenching true crime documentary. It would be okay to warn that the weak hearted should not watch it. However, there is no euphoric scene and no corpses are shown hanging. The music, filming and individual interviews of this documentary are so heart-wrenching that you just tremble. There is no custom of such documentaries in India, while there are many such foreign documentaries on Netflix and people like them very much. ‘House of Secrets’ is the first Indian documentary of its kind that explores the psychology behind a heinous crime. How delusional situations emerge from the deteriorating mental state of one person in the family and the whole family, out of an unknown fear, does what they are told. The sad thing is that he loses his life this time.

80 years old Narayani Devi, his elder daughter Pratibha Bhatia (57 years) and his daughter Priyanka (33 years), elder son Bhavnesh (50 years), his wife Savita (48 years) and their daughters Neetu (25 years), Monu (25 years) 23 years) and son Dhruv (15 years). Narayani Devi’s younger son Lalit (45 years), his wife Tina (42 years) and their only son Shivam (15 years) all lived together. Lalit was the main driver of this whole incident. Although Lalit was a very decent and well-mannered person, but due to a head injury in a road accident and later due to another horrific accident, he lost his voice and there was a terrible change in his personality.

His father died in 2007 and after some time Lalit started telling the whole family that his father’s spirit had entered him. The family members felt a bit strange but Lalit used to behave like his father. His words were being believed. At his behest, the family members opened a grocery store and then did plywood and hardware. The fate of the house has run out. Lalit used to write the words of his father in a diary every day and all the family members had to read it and follow it. Slowly all the members started writing diaries. Apart from everyday things, how to walk on the true path, such as religious thoughts, which day will be worshiped, who will tell whom to whom, analysis of everyone’s behavior, all such things were written. Although everything was normal on the night of the suicide, people from the neighborhood met him, deals were done at the shop i.e. life was normal. Then at night the whole family committed suicide by hanging themselves from the ceiling with the help of rope, dupatta, saris. Since Narayani Devi was old, she could not hang, so her throat was slit separately. Some members’ hands and feet were tied and all were blindfolded.

Leena Yadav has worked hard for this documentary. Television reports, newspaper cuttings, conversations with crime reporters and especially with all the police officers related to the case are part of this documentary. The scenes of conversation with the neighbors of the Bhatia family of Sant Nagar can make you panic. Since the family had lived in this area for about 20 years and had two shops, where daily business was done. Apart from this, all the members of the family had a good identity in the neighborhood. Talks were also held with some of Lalit’s friends, who in the end had taken the responsibility of performing the last rites of all. Different friends portray different images of Lalit. The most dreaded statements come from the policemen who first reached the spot and saw all the bodies hanging from the net on the roof of the house and the family’s pet dog barking the whole time. There was only one thing in the statements of the eyewitnesses that strikes like a hammer in the mind – we have never seen such a scene in our life and now we will never be able to forget it even if we want to.

There are some things about this documentary that make it better than any other crime documentary. In the interviews of the policemen, the policemen answer with a smile. Solving crime cases is a daily task for them. Despite seeing such a dreadful scene, he has to forget all the pain, pain and happiness and leave to work on the next case. You might be surprised to see the SHO of the police station speaking English. When the police constables have to go on occasion in the morning, he is tired after working all night and wants to lie down for a while but his luck takes him to his locality. At one place, Leena has put a shot, in which the policeman is talking on the phone and he tells the caller that let’s talk later, now he is busy shooting for a documentary. The human face of the police is not only of kindness and compassion, but also of pride in a small achievement. Although the case was sent to the crime branch, but this does not reduce the status of the police station. In the documentary, Leena and Abhinav have not made any mistake like spying or showing theatrical adaptation of the incident. The police have closed the case and now no new investigation can be done in it but have tried to explain the mental illness behind this mass suicide with the help of psychologist.

The mystery that will never be solved is that how the 42-year-old Lalit, whose mental condition was not good due to accident and attempted murder, had tricked every member of the house that he had father’s spirit inside him. How would Lalit’s mother feel when her son instructs her through his diary? How his young son and nephew would have understood his point. What will be such an infatuation that all the members have agreed to die together. Why did the whole family make sacrifices in this ritual of death? The media had turned this case into a circus. Dozens of reporters, cameramen were sitting around the scene from all sides. Not a single clue or information was in the hands of the media, so the report was being shown on the basis of guesswork. The conversation of any person living in that street was shown on TV as a real revelation. In this circus, the police and crime branch kept silence.

The music of this documentary has been composed by Qutub-e-Kripa, a children’s band trained by AR Rahman’s Academy of Music, KM Music Conservatory. If Rahman has a hand on his head, then the talent shines through. Music has kept this documentary from getting cumbersome. Four pairs of hands have also been involved to edit hundreds of hours of footage – James Heygood, Zachary Kashkett, M ​​Meliani and Namrata Rao. Documentary co-director Anubhav Chopra has worked as an assistant director with major directors in over a dozen films from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara to Dil Bechara. Originally, Anubhav from Jalandhar had secured the fourth position in the script writing competition of Cinestaan. Leena Yadav is old name. Some of the films directed by him are – ‘Shabd’, ‘Teen Patti’, ‘Parched’, and ‘Rajma Chawal’. Early in his career, he also directed a television show titled ‘Say Na Something To Anupam Uncle’. Leena’s husband Asim Bajaj is also the producer of this documentary. Asim Bajaj is actually the son of theater personality Ram Gopal Bajaj and grandson of Khemchand Prakash, the music director of Lata Mangeshkar’s Aayega Aane Wala (Mahal) song.

11 people died. 11 people commit suicide. Meeting the diaries written by 11 people. These diaries were also being written for 11 years. According to psychologists, most of the families in India are of this type. Superstition, complete dependence on any one person, leaving logic, talking like ghost-spirit-spirit, doing such religious activities in the name of worship, which can cause unconditional harm. Watch this documentary. Perhaps you will be able to prevent such an accident from happening around you.

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