EYES IN Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk had the pleasure of attending the film premiere of 'India's Daughter' and met with Leslee Udwin, the British producer/direction behind the gripping documentary film that examines the society and values of India after a 23-year-old medical student is raped and murdered on a bus. The film documents her short life and the explosive cultural and political climate surrounding her murder by brutal gang rape in New Delhi in December 2012. The film opens on October 23 in New York at the Village East and in Los Angeles on October 30 at the Sundance Sunset.
“Udwin does an impressive job of including all the key issues and more. The result is a moving and insightful film that takes a panoramic approach. India’s Daughter is a necessary watch – not just for the women of India but for women across the world.” — The Independent, UK
“Leslee Udwin’s INDIA’S DAUGHTER is a shocking investigation into the gang rape and, ultimately, murder of a young medical student, Jyoti Singh on a bus in India. The shock derives not from the horrific nature of the crime that took her life, but comes from a breathtaking series of interviews Udwin had with the perpetrators in prison, and the educated and respected lawyers who defended them. Their feelings about women, breathtakingly and freely expressed, provide the real power galvanizing this amazing film.” — Meryl Streep, Actress and Activist
The savage rape of Jyoti Singh raised the fury of Indians and shook the social fabric of the country, and the world, to the core. New Delhi saw an explosion of public outrage, and a month of unprecedented mass street protests spread across India’s cities with demonstrators braving freezing December temperatures, and a government crackdown with water canons and tear-gas.
Director Leslee Udwin has been honored as a New York Times 2015 Woman of Impact and won the prestigious Anna Lindh Human Rights Award for her groundbreaking work in advancing the rights of women and girls with this film.
Jyoti Singh was a young physiotherapy student from a poor family in New Delhi, and a symbol of a 21st century India in which economic growth is expanding opportunity for women and men alike. With dreams of a career in medicine, Jyoti asked her parents, Badri and Asha Singh, to use her wedding dowry to pay for her education. Despite protest from the extended family, Jyoti’s parents willingly obliged, and sold the family’s ancestral land to put her through school. On December 16, 2012, she went to see Life of Pi with a male friend. When they boarded a private bus to return home in the early evening, the young man was beaten until helpless, and Jyoti was dragged to the back of the bus and repeatedly gang raped. Her assailants brutalized her as they circled the city, and injured her internal organs, ultimately eviscerating her with an iron rod. She miraculously survived for 13 days before the surgeons could do no more.
In 'India's Daughter', acclaimed filmmaker Leslee Udwin unspools the extraordinary story of Jyoti and her forward-thinking family, while also probing the culture of rape and the psyche of her attackers. In one of the film’s most extraordinary scenes, a confession by one of the perpetrators is captured in Tihar jail, giving crucial insight into the mindset of the men who committed the rape, and exploring the wider dynamics of a patriarchal society and culture which seeds violence against women. Perhaps even more shocking than the self-justification expressed by the rapists, now sentenced to death, are the statements of their defense lawyers. One attacker’s attorney states, “If my daughter indulged in pre-marital relations, I would take her to my farmhouse and in front of my whole family, I would pour petrol on her and set her alight.” In March of this year, the Indian government banned the film. According to a New York Times report, The New Delhi police released a statement saying that one of the perpetrators, “has made malicious, derogatory, offensive, insulting remarks against women, causing harassment and disrepute.” The statement continued to say that the perpetrators remarks, “are highly offensive and have already created a situation of tension and fear amongst women in our society.”
'India's Daughter' has become a font of controversy with some advocates calling it essential viewing, while others deeply criticizing it for giving a megaphone to the rapists’ point of view, for bringing shame upon India, ignoring the Indian women’s movement and violating the rights of the victim and the accused.
A moving, shocking and illuminating film, 'India's Daughter' bears witness to the truth about rape in global society, and the tectonic shift in attitudes that looms on the horizon. Unveiling the world leadership of the Indian people with their mass protests in demanding the right of women to live free from sexual violence, the film has been hailed as holding the possibility to spark change for women in India and around the world.
To learn more about 'India's Daughter' visit the Website www.indiasdaughter.com.
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Image Credit: Vivian Van Dijk
Add'l Source: India's Daughter