Caught Out: "Crime. Corruption. Cricket." Netflix review 2023

Caught Out of committing a crime. Corruption. Cricket is the latest Indian documentary to air on Netflix on March 17, 2023. It exposes the biggest scandal surrounding the sport of cricket in the 1990s and marks Supriya Sobti Gupta's directorial debut. With a running time of 1:17, it was produced by Passion Pictures.

Caught Out: "Crime. Corruption. Cricket." Netflix review 2023

Caught Out Story

As the first Women's Premier League is played in Mumbai, this documentary film opens a three-decade-old chapter in the history book of the sport that has shaken the entire nation. The biggest match-fixing scandal that has brought this issue to the forefront of public attention has shattered the hopes and morals associated with this almost revered sport in India.

Borrowing stories from a few veteran journalists and cricketers who knew about the whole affair at the time, the documentary gradually unveils each stage of the scandal. As the cover of an old Outlook magazine reveals, the film once again goes back in time to investigate "India's worst kept secret," which remains a matter of concern in the modern era, even though steps have been taken to curb such possibilities.

Caught Out Official Traler

As the film progresses, it highlights the disarming love that the nation's people have for the sport, which seems to light a fire in their souls. However, this innate joy and enthusiasm associated with cricket once again stems from our universal love for the underdog theme in film. 

The film builds its identity with a familiar documentary style by drawing on the vintage aesthetic of videotapes and the like. It alludes to the voiceovers of anonymous bookies involved in the mess and features anonymous reenactments of the past.

In doing so, it also brings down the curtain on the supposed protagonists of the sport by proving that they are flawed humans. Even after the film unfolds on screen, the trajectory leaves us questioning their responsibility in all this. And even though the answers are not found midway through the film, these players are "Caught Out " because they no longer appear as the godlike heroes they once were.

Caught Out: "Crime. Corruption. Cricket."

Four players' names come up in particular when the case is scrutinized: Manoj Prabhakar, Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin and South African champion Hansi Croje. While young contemporary sports fans may think that the title of this documentary evokes the IPL debacle, it may seem far removed from the reality of the situation. 

However, once that old page is reopened, older viewers can attest to how troubling it was for all of them, and it's not something you can shake off after scrolling through Instagram or Twitter as usual.

The journalists recruited to document this film are the perfect group to disclose this to the public. While some are also invested in cricket, others found their profession in sports journalism by chance. Yet, all of them do an excellent job of breaking down the organizational chart of the hierarchy in this infamous shadow cast over the game.

Crime, Corruption and Cricket Caught Out : Final Thoughts

The title itself plays on several levels: one goes hand in hand with its obvious cricketing connotation, the other highlights the players and people caught up in this version of unsportsmanlike play, and the last refers to all of the people undercover in the case and the fear of being "Caught Out ." 

What appealed to me about this film is that it completely upends the god-like position accorded to celebrities - in this case, the national players of a larger-than-life sport like cricket. 

Even if, like me, you're a bigger fan of another sport, this docu-film is something you need to watch this weekend. It builds tension without you having to rack your brain for clues. The way each anecdote was put together by the storytellers chosen for the task keeps you invested in the story. Sometimes you can even see the excitement shining on the reporter's face.

Caught Out:

Like most documentaries and real-life investigative stories, this film leaves much to ponder with its open-ended inadequacy, once again highlighting the dullness of human characters in reality. 

Unlike a game that results in a winner or loser, Caught Out proves that real life is much more nuanced than a binary paradigm, and that most of it is disappointing and flawed, even if we elevate it on a pedestal. Thus, sometimes even the "gentleman's game" does not involve bringing gentlemen together, contrary to what we would have hoped. 

Caught Out: Crime Corruption Cricket is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

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