Docuseries House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths starts much needed conversation on mental health awareness

Docuseries House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths starts much needed conversation on mental health awareness

The new Netflix documentary has people talking about the fine line between faith and delusion.
12 Oct, 2021

Warning: This story contains spoilers for the Netflix series House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths

A documentary, House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths, which is about the deaths of 11 members of a family in India’s Burari area of Delhi, has sparked a conversation online and has been trending ever since its initial release on October 8 on Netflix.

However, people aren't just talking about the chilling plot. Fans of the limited docuseries have started conspiring online, still questioning whether if it is a case of accidental suicide or mass murder. While many have tweeted that the series is more gruesome than exciting, the other half hopes to learn more about the tragic incident.

A few even started a conversation about mental health and how important it is to acknowledge and normalise it. Nearly 35 per cent of Pakistanis suffer from some form of mental illness according to the Pakistan Association for Mental Health and require psychological help but how many of us actually seek that help?

The crime show challenges the stigma associated with mental health in a desi household, something most of us can either relate to. Many people in South Asia look down at the very idea of visiting a therapist.

The Bhatia family was found dead in India’s capital city in 2018 and at the time, the case intrigued the nation. The documentary that was released five days ago explores the bizarre case in which all 11 members of the family — the eldest of the family being 77 and the youngest being 15 years old — were found hanging from the ceiling of their home, blindfolded and gagged with their hands tied behind their backs. According to the documentary, the ill-fated family had no other choice but to follow commands of a family member who placed a great deal of importance to patriarchal norms and his own superstitions.

According to the documentary, authorities blamed Lalit Bhatia — the youngest son of Narayani Devi — for the death of his 10 family members. Everyone, including Lalit, was found hanging like the “roots of banyan tree” according to instructions penned in a secret notebook. The youngest Bhatia had claimed that the spirit of his deceased father, Bhopal Singh, took over him in order to guide the family onto the "right path".

Medical professionals interviewed for the documentary on the other hand blamed Lalit’s psychosis and concluded that he likely needed to see a mental health professional.

House of Secrets is currently trending on Netflix in Pakistan and we all know why — Pakistanis love reading or hearing about crime stories. This could be a sign for our documentary makers to follow up our own crime stories and tell the world about them.

We've already got Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of A Serial Killer, starring Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar in the works. The project is slated for an OTT release but in the end it’s not a documentary.

As our audience takes interest in crime dramas like the Burari family case, it would be nice to see docuseries based on Lyari’s gang-war, rising street crimes, and femicide cases around Pakistan for a change.