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Anjali Bhushan , Indian Co Producer of #Indiasdaughter speaks out



Make no mistake. Rape is a heinous crime. When public anger over the Nirbhaya incident boiled over, the question which confronted our society was how a human being could be driven to commit acts of such depravity. Although, it is said that the moral compass of all criminals is skewed the brutality of this incident made it necessary from a social viewpoint to examine the question of where such behaviour stems from.

The documentary “India’s Daughter” was therefore conceived to serve a social cause which was unfortunately overshadowed by the self-promoting agenda of my collaborator, Ms. Leslee Udwin. I had fallen out with her by the time that the principle photography of the film was completed and was conveniently excluded from the final edits.

Subsequently, her attempt to exploit the subject matter of the documentary in a self-advancing attempt to sensationalize the content has not only brought disrepute to my profession and the country but also resulted in hurting the sentiments of the victims of rape who would invariably be exposed to the film. Granted editorial and journalistic privilege, there is also a particular sensibility that should be a guiding factor as an ethical standard.

This is the same sensibility because of which the international media decides against telecasting the brutal immolation of a Jordanian pilot by terrorists. The social message which is the very essence of the film I wanted to make is now lost in the unfortunate controversy which has followed. When one edits several hours of footage, it is this sensibility, suitably deployed, which comes into play. It was this ‘sensibility’ which I was not able to exercise having been prevented by Ms. Leslee Udwin from participating in the post-assembly review of the film. And it was the lack of exercise of this ‘sensibility’ on her part, (having denied herself of my input as an Indian woman), in a cynical attempt to capture eyeballs and headlines which has led to the unfortunate controversy which will continue to cast a shadow on her career as a film maker.

The story does not end here. Regardless of her lack of sensibilities and judgment, Ms. Udwin knowingly and cynically breached the conditions and undertakings under which the permissions were granted. It was clear right at the outset that the permission to shoot the documentary was conditional upon the viewing of the unedited footage and the final cut by the authorities. Having completed the shooting, Ms. Udwin arrogantly refused to comply. On being shown snippets of the film, the authorities at Tihar Prisons had categorically stated that the comments of the convict were objectionable. The authorities further asked for the full i.e. unedited film to be able to review the same in the proper context. It was reiterated that the film should not be released till it is approved by the prison authorities and the Ministry.

When Ms. Udwin categorically refuted this demand by Tihar Prisons, I was horrified especially since I had repeatedly pleaded with her to comply with all conditions and formalities. Ultimately, in September 2014, I received a letter from Ms. Udwin’s lawyers terminating our agreements. One of the grounds of termination was that my warnings had in fact led to the DG (Prisons) sending a legal notice to her company on the grounds of breach of permissions granted by the jail authorities!

Subsequently, when I accidently stumbled upon the fact that plans to release the documentary were afoot, I was both angry and surprised, since I had been informed that the BBC will not air the documentary until the Supreme Court hearings were over. I immediately proceeded to warn the media houses planning to telecast the film, both about the fact that permission to do so had not been received and also the fact that the matter was still sub judice.

That despite my warnings the documentary, which includes an abominable portrayal of the issue, was still aired is a sad reflection of the triumph of the personal ambition of a producer who valued publicity and international recognition over the social agenda of the entire production.

(This is the full statement of co-producer of controversial documentary “India’s Daughter”. Views expressed are personal)


Here is my  Open letter to Meryl Streep and Frieda Pinto on launching global campaign against violence against women on bass on this film 

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Comments (6)

  1. Smritilekha C

    It is very evident from highlighting Mukesh Singh; that she wanted sensation, as it is only sensation, that can help her gain popularity. And get grants for her next project.

  2. I’d like to ask Anjali Bhushan what she thinks of the Supreme Court ruling that Marital Rape is okay and allowed.???
    I don’t think my fellow Indians are BOTHERED about RAPE at all…Simply because NOT ONE VOICE has been raised among them regarding MARITAL RAPE.. If Marital rape is OKAY then obviously Rape without marriage certicficate cannot be that terrible a crime…let’s face it..The only reason why young girls fear Rape before Marriage is because they will get a BAD NAME and be then OUT OF THE MARRIAGE MARKET…For the Indian man wants on the wedding night to see blood on the sheets to know he has a virgin for a bride, pure as the driven snow.. It doesn’t matter at all how many women he has had and he could have been milked a million times like an old cow but he still is viable in the marriage market…Once the woman is married she can be raped as much by her husband as possible and that is his right…No chance of the woman being able to do the same as she is the physically WEAKER sex….
    So please let’s put all this BULLSHIT PHONY PSEUDO OUTRAGE over rape behind and accept the reality and go on training young boys how women can and should be treated in the everyday indian home used and abused by the man at will. Obviously the rapists lived in one room homes where they witnessed possibly daily forced sex by on their mothers by their own fathers…the next day their mothers would go on with chores as if nothing happened..That is why the rapist says “if only she did not resist (as I’m sure their mother’s knew better than to resist) then we would not have harmed her. Strange how we learn best our A B C in our childhood..Not so strange then, how that also allows us to EXCUSE rape at a deeper level as with the Supreme Court ruling that Marital Rape is OKAY and finding zero objection from so called Feminists!
    For some reason I feel like PUKING at all the hype and hypocrisy.
    Leslee who made the documentary was also raped and she had no problem disclosing it and she also put together a brilliant documentary instead of sitting in a corner and crying “I’ve been raped” and is living a full life as a successful broadcaster and director.
    A woman could go through worse…like having her face disfigured for life in an acid attack….
    If you think MARITAL RAPE is OKAY like India’s SUPREME COURT, then just SHUT UP.

  3. Seema

    I am glad that the prisoner rapist’s comments were aired in the documentary. Listening to them made me remember that I had heard similar comments from countless aunty-and-uncle-jis all my life – about roaming out late night, wearing wrong clothes, about house work being for me, girl boy being different – and how I have always taken these comments silently.

    Watching the rapist say these very same things made me realize that not only was this mindset a problem, but also that by listening to these comments without protest, I too was a part of the problem.

    I have decided henceforth to not to let this discrimination pass unchallenged. I thank you all for making me aware that by remaining silent I was complicit in making gender discrimination worse.

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