British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, whose documentary on the 16 December gangrape has created furore in India for showing an interview with one of the convicts, said on Tuesday that it was her attempt to examine men’s attitude towards women.
Udwin also claimed she took permission from the then Director General of Tihar jail, Vimla Mehra, before interviewing the convict Mukesh Singh. “I wrote to DG of Tihar. The DG had to consult with MHA. The letter basically stated that it was a campaign film. I had applied for permission in May 2013 and I got the answer ‘yes’ in two weeks. Official permission of MHA had also come. Permission from the prison was also signed,” she said.
India’s Daughter tells the story of the horrific Delhi gang rape of December, 2012, from the perspective of the convicts and the victim’s parents, she claimed. “We took a lot of time to make the film…almost two years. If we had something sensational, then we would have thrown it out immediately. There is nothing sensational about the film. It’s a very serious campaign film in public interest,” she told reporters in New Delhi.
Before making the BBC documentary, Udwin said she met the parents of all the convicts, including the juvenile’s. “Mukesh’s mother got him to speak. I interviewed his mother and told her…it was important for us to speak to him. She told him to speak to us,” she said.
In the interview, Mukesh said the women who went out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of gangs of molesters.
Udwin was asked why she gave a platform to the convict. “That’s a great pity,” she said. “Indian media should highlight what is going on in their minds. You have to keep repeating it until it stops and changes. The film looks at the issues of mindset and gender inequality…The film paints a picture of a set of attitudes towards women.”
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