India's daughter in focus again

India's daughter in focus again

India's daughter in focus again

British filmmaker Leslee Udwin’s documentary “India’s Daughter” is a well-rounded effort to highlight various aspects of one the worst social crises.The 60-minute heart-wrenching film on the December 16, 2012, tragedy, has shades of opinion not just from the rapist and the defence lawyers, but from family members of both the victim and criminals, women activists, the members of the Justice J S Verma Committee that helped frame the laws against rape, a doctor and a psychologist.

The painful recollection by the victim’s mother on how her daughter came back home relaxed on the last day of her exams, the ordeal she underwent, and the fading sound of her last breath are numbing.

The film is neither glorification of rape nor does it depict vulgarity and voyeurism. On the contrary, it gives a peek into a criminal mind. The graphic description of the crime by driver Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts, sends a chill down the spine. What we get to know is a shocking revelation of what is in the mind of someone who goes to unimaginable extents to inflict pain on a woman.

The remorseless narration of what is seen as a justification of the crime is truly disconcerting. “A decent girl will not roam around at 9 pm. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. We just wanted to teach them a lesson for roaming around at that time of the night…”

The defence lawyers’ views are equally repulsive. It brings out the mentality of men in India though it’s not a revelation. One of them says, “If sweets are left on the road, dogs will come and eat it …” 

Udwin has also touched upon some of the causes of crime: poverty, lack of education and exposure to violence at home. The movie invokes memories of the incident and reignites the frustration and anger against perverts lurking in the shadows of society. As activist Kavita Krishnan says: “It’s like a dam bursting. It doesn’t happen out of one case alone. I think it’s an accumulated anger that burst out.”

The documentary reminds us of the type of society we are living in, and leaves us wondering how we can stem the slide. As Leela Seth sums up, “Education is the answer. And hope is not something we have done away with…”