MUMBAI: Celebrities, such as Madhoo and Soha Ali Khan, on Friday continued to question the viability of the ban on the broadcast of India’s Daughter, a documentary based on the December 16, 2012 gang rape in Delhi.
Actor Soha Ali Khan, daughter of former Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Sharmila Tagore, tweeted:
The documentary, by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, has grabbed eyeballs for including an interview with a rapist, one of the six men who raped a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist in a moving bus in Delhi. The victim later died of her injuries.
The central government on Thursday served a legal notice to the BBC in connection with the documentary, which was also uploaded on YouTube by an individual and received reactions from all quarters. While some have slammed the documentary for giving a platform to a rapist, others have applauded it for telling a truth in its entirety.
Actor-filmmaker Lakshmy Ramakrishnan wonders “what we are trying to hide” by banning a film like this. “If it has to create public disorder, so be it. Only when people know what really happened with the girl, can we as a country realise the value we give to women,” she said. “This documentary may not prevent such crimes from happening again, but it would at least educate and make us understand about the heinous incident.”
Questioning the reason why permission was granted for the film to be made, she added, “Our government doesn’t mind banning porn websites but has issues with such a documentary, despite granting permission to be made in the first place. All of us have the right to information, and nobody can stop someone from accessing it.”
Actor Madhoo believes in the creative freedom of a filmmaker, but she feels India’s Daughter has given voice to a rapist, which she objects to. “I totally believe every filmmaker should be given the creative freedom and right to show what they want to show. But as a viewer, I’ll choose what I want to see… I feel it’s unfair to ban this documentary,” she stated. “Having said that, I’m a mother and I fear for my daughters’ safety. And I strongly object to the platform these rapists have been given to voice their opinions,” she said.
“By putting these criminals on camera, you’re giving them an opportunity to be popular. Does society really need to hear what they have to say? I don’t think all crimes have to be dealt with publicly. I don’t want to wake up and read a cover story on what the rapist had to say about a crime he committed two years ago,” she added.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt made a pertinent point when he said, “A flourishing democracy relies upon access to a wide range of opinions and sources of information. Our laws and our guardians of culture sometimes silence opinions in a manner that they hurt the democratic spirit of our nation.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2015.