Freedom of Expression – A Joke – India’s Daughter Issue

Cross posted from Hindustan Times – who for some inexplicable reasons pull this article down (Second article they are pulling down in recent week). Banning a provocative Documentary is against freedom of  expression, yelled the folks in Main stream Media protagonists. But they stifle Anjali Bhushan’s freedom of Expression by pulling down her version on how the film, India’s Daughter Came about. It has been a litany of lies, deceit and mischief by the BBC Commissioned Hit job with Leslee Udwin playing the ball for them.

Before you read this, please go through what Nirbhaya’s friend who was with her that forgettable evening has to say about the movie. Reconfirms what I said earlier. India’s Daughter has lies & deceits written all over it. The link below takes you to the CNN-IBN Article. Backed it up, just in case they decide to take it down

Nirbhaya’s friend, who was with her on the fateful night, calls ‘India’s Daughter’ a fake film

Read on… the piece in Hindustan Times that was taken down.

Anjali Bhushan, co-producer of Indias’ Daughter, speaks out: Full statement

  • Anjali Bhushan
  • Updated: Mar 07, 2015 05:19 IST
In this file photo from December 22, 2012, protesters gather outside the presidential palace during a protest against the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in New Delhi. (AP Photo)


Make no mistake. Rape is a heinous crime. When public anger over the Nirbhaya incident boiled over, the question which confronted our society was how a human being could be driven to commit acts of such depravity. Although, it is said that the moral compass of all criminals is skewed the brutality of this incident made it necessary from a social viewpoint to examine the question of where such behaviour stems from.

The documentary “India’s Daughter” was therefore conceived to serve a social cause which was unfortunately overshadowed by the self-promoting agenda of my collaborator, Ms. Leslee Udwin. I had fallen out with her by the time that the principle photography of the film was completed and was conveniently excluded from the final edits. Subsequently, her attempt to exploit the subject matter of the documentary in a self-advancing attempt to sensationalize the content has not only brought disrepute to my profession and the country but also resulted in hurting the sentiments of the victims of rape who would invariably be exposed to the film. Granted editorial and journalistic privilege, there is also a particular sensibility that should be a guiding factor as an ethical standard. This is the same sensibility because of which the international media decides against telecasting the brutal immolation of a Jordanian pilot by terrorists. The social message which is the very essence of the film I wanted to make is now lost in the unfortunate controversy which has followed. When one edits several hours of footage, it is this sensibility, suitably deployed, which comes into play. It was this ‘sensibility’ which I was not able to exercise having been prevented by Ms. Leslee Udwin from participating in the post-assembly review of the film. And it was the lack of exercise of this ‘sensibility’ on her part, (having denied herself of my input as an Indian woman), in a cynical attempt to capture eyeballs and headlines which has led to the unfortunate controversy which will continue to cast a shadow on her career as a film maker.

The story does not end here. Regardless of her lack of sensibilities and judgment, Ms. Udwin knowingly and cynically breached the conditions and undertakings under which the permissions were granted. It was clear right at the outset that the permission to shoot the documentary was conditional upon the viewing of the unedited footage and the final cut by the authorities. Having completed the shooting, Ms. Udwin arrogantly refused to comply. On being shown snippets of the film, the authorities at Tihar Prisons had categorically stated that the comments of the convict were objectionable.  The authorities further asked for the full i.e. unedited film to be able to review the same in the proper context. It was reiterated that the film should not be released till it is approved by the prison authorities and the Ministry.

When Ms. Udwin categorically refuted this demand by Tihar Prisons, I was horrified especially since I had repeatedly pleaded with her to comply with all conditions and formalities. Ultimately, in September 2014, I received a letter from Ms. Udwin’s lawyers terminating our agreements. One of the grounds of termination was that my warnings had in fact led to the DG (Prisons) sending a legal notice to her company on the grounds of breach of permissions granted by the jail authorities!

Subsequently, when I accidently stumbled upon the fact that plans to release the documentary were afoot, I was both angry and surprised, since I had been informed that the BBC will not air the documentary until the Supreme Court hearings were over. I immediately proceeded to warn the media houses planning to telecast the film, both about the fact that permission to do so had not been received and also the fact that the matter was still sub judice.

That despite my warnings the documentary, which includes an abominable portrayal of the issue, was still aired is a sad reflection of the triumph of the personal ambition of a producer who valued publicity and international recognition over the social agenda of the entire production.

(This is the full statement of co-producer of controversial documentary “India’s Daughter”. Views expressed are personal)

The google cache of the piece here: (Click on the link)

Just in case it vanishes from the cache, here is the screenshot of the piece too


Leslee’s Liasons: the Inside Story

Cross Posted from The New Indian Express 

By Yatish Yadav

Published: 08th Mar 2015 06:00:00 AM


A rapist in a brown and white check shirt staring impassively at the camera, speaking soto voce that Nirbhaya, the victim of the December 16, 2012 gangrape, had asked for it. A 57-year-old British film producer and actress Leslee Udwin who shot him inside Delhi’s infamous Tihar Jail is crying that the Indian government has banned her documentary India’s Daughter and muzzled freedom of expression. A missing film producer named Anjali Bhushan. A newborn film company named Tathagath under whose banner Udwin produced the documentary and  has left no traces of its existence. The funder of India’s Daughter, Tribeca Film Institute which is financed by the Ford Foundation, a body under the scanner of Indian agencies for funding PRS’s Lamp Scheme in India. A carefully constructed web of film companies whose presence fade in and out as if through the lens of a camera. Behind the outrage on the social media and the anger of columnists and editorial writers over the ban of the documentary lies a story of deception, circumvention of rules and a host of missing links that suggest that Leslee Udwin’s story is not just what it seems to be—a gift to India.

The storm broke after February 27, when the BBC magazine carried an item about the worldwide release of the film, announcing the contents, including an exclusive interview by one of the rapists, Mukesh Singh. A crew numbering four to five people shot interviews of the gang-rape convicts inside Tihar Jail in October 2013 after being granted unhindered access for six to seven days by jail authorities. Mysteriously, the arrangements were fixed by an unknown Gurgaon-based photographer who “happened to know” some jail officials.


THE LADY VANISHES: “Dig deep and you will find a scoop behind the making of India’s Daughter”, claims an intelligence officer involved in the probe into the making of the documentary. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 4 had assured Parliament that the government will inquire into the matter. He also clarified that the Tihar Jail authorities gave permissions for the shoot to Udwin and Anjali Bhushan. While Udwin, owner of Assassin Films, last week appeared on all major TV channels crying foul over the ban and hogging the international limelight, Bhushan through whom Udwin got permission to shoot inside Tihar is missing from the film’s credit roll.

Indian government rules state that a foreign filmmaker is not allowed entry inside an Indian prison. An MHA official, probing any violation of contract in the filming of India’s Daughter, claims Leslee partnered with an Indian co-producer to circumvent the rule and gain access to the jail premises.

A tale of tricks of the trade

  • The producers didn’t take requisite approval before telecast
  • Filmmakers were asked not to release/screen the documentary till it is approved by the authorities but premier date was fixed without getting the necessary permission.
  • Did Leslee apply for documentary filmmaker visa under Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920, and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992?
  • She used only Mukesh Singh’s byte and not of other convicts.
  • Investigators claim the film was made for commercial benefit rather for social study as originally claimed by the filmmaker while seeking permission for interview.
  • Investigators probing the role of ‘Tathagat films’, the Indian partner of Leslee Udwin’s Assassin Films.

India’s Daughter: Frame by Frame

  • July 24, 2013:  Home ministry grants permission to Leslee Udwin and Anjali Bhushan to shoot a documentary inside Tihar Jail
  • Oct 7, 2013: Consent letter of December 12 gang-rape convict taken
  • Jan 9, 2014: Udwin receives funding from Worldview. The grant is announced jointly for Udwin’s Assassin Films Ltd (UK) and Bhushan’s Apricot Sky Entertainment (India).
  • April 7, 2014: Tihar Jail authorities detect violation in permission conditions for shoot and a legal notice is served. The notice to Leslee asks her to return the unedited footage within 15 days and also not to show the film as it violates the permission conditions.
  • May-June 2014: Documentary is shown to jail authorities where it is noticed that the film depicts the comments of the convict which are highly derogatory. The filmmaker is requested to provide full copy of the unedited film for further review by the authorities and that they are asked not to release/screen the documentary till it is approved by the authorities.
  • June 10, 2014: Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund is awarded to Udwin for India’s Daughter.
  • Feb 27 , 2015: BBC Magazine publishes curtain-raiser on India’s Daughter highlighting rape convict Mukesh Singh’s interview and schedule of world premiere on March 8
  • March 3, 2015: Uproar in Parliament, Delhi Police registers FIR under Section 509 (outraging the modesty of women) and Section 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of trust) of the IPC.
  • March 4, 2015 : Protest by lawmakers in Parliament forces government to ban the film. Google and YouTube are asked to remove the links.
  • March 4, 2015: BBC and some other channels in Europe advance telecast of the documentary by four days.

Cross posted from The Sunday Standard – New Indian Express (You can read the original by clicking here)