The match fixing scandal that shook the world of cricket in the late 1990s is the subject of Supriya Sobti Gupta’s Netflix documentary “Caught Out: Crime. Corruption. Cricket.”
The film is produced by Passion Pictures, which has credits including Oscar winners “One Day in September,” “Searching for Sugar Man” and “The Lost Thing,” and Gupta’s MOW Productions.
Gupta, a broadcast journalist by training, has worked for the BBC, Al Jazeera and Channel News Asia. She is no stranger to hard-hitting Indian subjects, having worked on “Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld” and “Bad Boy Billionaires: India.” “Caught Out” is her directorial debut.
“This story marked a turnaround point in our history because this was a time when, while growing up, either cricketers or Bollywood stars, were your role models, your heroes, there was none other than these guys. And just the coming out of this scandal, which is probably the biggest scandal in the world of cricket, it just dashed so many hopes,” Gupta told Variety. “We know things went wrong. We know that there was a match fixing scandal. But we do not know details of it. The idea was to give the audience a front seat into knowing what happened in the scandal, give them detail of how it unraveled and what really went down.”
The documentary is timed to coincide with the first Women’s Indian Premier League Cricket tournament, which is currently being played in India. It is a big money tournament, with franchise rights sold for $572 million.
“This is a great film to see what it means if you go astray, what can potentially happen and that there will be ramifications,” said Gupta.
The film is told from the point of view of the journalists who broke the story and the officials who investigated the scandal using archive footage of many of the cricketers involved. The biggest challenge Gupta faced was that of access.
“We reached out to cricketers across the board. But, because there is this element of right to reply, none of them wanted to speak with us. We would have loved to tell the story from the angle of the cricketers as well. But we’re really happy that we got very strong access with the investigators,” Gupta said. “Obviously, it helped to have a very strong partner on board. When you have an Academy Award winning partner [Passion Pictures] on board, it lends that element of credibility.”
“Caught Out” streams on Netflix from March 17.