Far from backing down after her documentary was banned, the woman behind India’s Daughter says she wants people to watch it and say, “enough is enough”.
Her hard-hitting documentary on the Delhi bus rape has been banned in India, but British film-maker Leslee Udwin tells Helen Roberts that showing it will only help the country
Dressed in a blood-red cotton sari, her hair combed back and a small red bindi adorning her forehead, Asha Singh watched stoically as Mukesh Singh, one of her daughter’s rapists and killers, walked slowly towards her. She sat on a bed next to her husband Badri Singh and clenched her balled fists until the nails were digging into the flesh, but she never stopped staring at the 28-year-old balding bus driver who is on death row in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
A guard at the jail threw open a huge iron gate and Mukesh nonchalantly stepped through and walked across the small whitewashed room to sit on the wooden stool placed in the centre. There was no hint of remorse, no hesitation or emotion when he finally spoke: “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”
Fortunately Asha wasn’t in the room with the killer – she was watching Mukesh staring into the camera that had been set up by award-winning British film-maker Leslee Udwin for her hard-hitting documentary India’s Daughter , based on the 2012 Delhi bus gang-rape of ‘Braveheart’ Jyoti that caused international outrage and brought the country to a standstill for weeks. But Asha, 47, was shown the film by Leslee a week before it was telecast by BBC 4, at her modest two-bedroom home in Dwarka, a semi-rural suburb of Delhi, and had to bite her lip to control her tears as Mukesh’s relentless sexist rant continued.
The rapist was reportedly paid Rs40,000 (about Dh2,340) to be interviewed for the documentary (his family were to said to have received the cash), which was aired in the UK on March 4, but has been banned by the Indian government. The Union Home minister Rajnath Singh said the film had breached the terms under which it was permitted to interview the rapist inside Delhi’s central jail. Many politicians were also quoted as saying that the film was bad for India’s image and one even said it could affect tourism.
Mukesh, who was interviewed by Leslee, was one of six males, including a juvenile, who brutally raped Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012, then threw her
Asha and Badri, parents of Jyoti, believe everyone should watch the film