Just weeks after Hollywood’s legendary actress Meryl Streep said that she would be campaigning to get the BCC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ an Oscar’s nomination
, documentary film-maker Anjali Bhushan has filed a criminal complaint against director Leslee Udwin in a Delhi court. Furthermore, in an exclusive interview with “The NEWS Minute,
” Bhushan claimed that she was the co-producer and co-director of the BBC documentary.
She claimed that the interview with the rapist Mukesh would not have happened had Bhushan not arranged for it.
Bhushan alleged that the British film-maker had committed “acts of cheating, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, dishonest execution of agreements and dishonest concealment of property” not only against her but against all Indians and that she had “evidence that will stand the test of scrutiny in a court”. She alleges that Udwin “coached” Mukesh and his mother, and attempted the same with Nirbhaya’s parents. “Asking leading questions is one thing, but pushing to get a line said exactly the way you want it is not ethical documentary film making.” Bhushan says she objected but was kept out of the editing process.
Bhushan claimed that she took the idea to Udwin at a time when the latter had “no plans to make any film on rape”.
But after reviewing Bhushan’s idea, Udwin contacted her the next day and said she wanted to make a fiction film from a “rapist’s point of view”, to which Bhushan countered and suggested to make a documentary instead.
According to Bhushan, they then agreed to collaborate as co-producers and co-directors for the movie, and decided that while Bhushan was to find a way to get the interviews, Udwin was to find the money to fund the project. In her complaint Bhushan states that the whole permission process from the getting the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Home Affairs to getting the actual permissions from Prison Headquarters in Tihar to conduct the interview was “a very demanding exercise”.
They were finally given the permission, ” under strict guidelines (from the government) which Leslee Udwin largely disregarded”.
Bhushan, even claims that she tried to stop Udwin to not show the documentary after the government didn’t give it clearance, but she didn’t pay heed. Bhushan said:
“We had set out to make a film to understand the problem of rape without sensationalising it. When I was not shown the final cut, I wrote to BBC. My mails went unanswered. Leslee Udwin also ignored my mails and held a press conference prior to the release, thereby ensuring a controversy. This was done possibly to bolster international sales.”
When Bhushan was asked about her view on the ban on movie she said, “I don’t believe the film was banned because of new revelations because there were none. I think it was banned due to negligence of rules and assurances given to the authorities by one of the co-producers and co-directors, namely Leslee Udwin.”