WHAT: British film-maker Leslee Udwin’s documentary titled India’s Daughter, which created uproar a few months followed by its ban in India, has received Audience Award at The Indian film Festival of Stuttgart in Germany. The Indian film Festival of Stuttgart is the largest Indian film festival in Europe. The documentary was scheduled for broadcast on NDTV in India but got banned in March after government found it outrageous against dignity of the December 16 gang rape victim. Despite hue and cry in India, BBC aired the documentary and a gala premiere was organised in New York, which was attended by Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto and Dakota Fanning.
WILL IT BE BROADCAST IN INDIA? On 5th August, 2015, the Delhi High Court will hear a petition regarding the broadcast of the documentary in India.
India’s Daughter: The documentary is an India-UK co-production, which tells the story of the horrific Delhi gang rape of Nirbhaya which sent shockwaves around the world in December 2012, and of the unprecedented protests and riots which this horrific event ignited throughout India, demanding changes in attitudes towards women.
Leslee Udwin’s commentary: What is so heartening to me is that when Indians abroad see the film in screenings and festivals, they invariably comment on how surprised they are to find the film so positive about India, the protests and the enlightened male role models in the film, which far outnumber the negative male figures. Having been led by their government and their media to expect a film that shames India, they find themselves embarrassed and amazed that this film could have been banned. I live in hope that the undemocratic and unconstitutional suppression of freedom of expression in the world’s largest democracy, which the ban on this public interest documentary has wrought, will be re-thought. The ban, made on India’s Daughter which the government had not even seen, and shocking calls for the ban by a band of Indian feminists whom I had formerly respected and admired – including Vrinder Grover, Indira Jaisingh, Kavita Krishnan and others – is what is bringing shame on India. Not the film. I know this to be a fact because as I travel the world (upward of 30 countries so far) and screen the film followed by panel discussions, international audiences are always appalled by the ban. They understand fully that the film deals with the issue in their own country also and are shockedthat the Indian government could possibly have banned a film that is so important for women, so positive and insightful in its demand for change and call for an end to the global violation of the human rights of women and girls.