Freida Pinto is leading a Bollywood campaign urging Indian officials to lift a ban on a controversial documentary about the rape and murder of a female student.
Earlier this month, officials issued an injunction stopping the BBC film India’s Daughter from being broadcast on TV in the country because they took issue with an interview with one of the six convicted rapists who attacked a 23-year-old medical student on a bus in Delhi in 2012. She later died from her injuries, and the interviewee shows no remorse for his actions in the recorded chat.
The ban has caused controversy and Slumdog Millionaire actress Pinto has joined the debate, telling BBC current affairs show Newsnight that attitudes to gender equality and sexual violence in the country will not change if films such as India’s Daughter are banned.
She says, “This film needs to be shown… We’re really talking about changing mindsets and I think the only way you can change mindsets is if you show people what you’re up against in the first place… When you watch it, you’re so angered and you’re so deeply distressed by situation that you want to do something about it and I do really hope that in a democracy like India, we at least lift the ban and leave it up to the people whether they want to watch it or not.”
Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma adds to Hindustantimes.com, “If other people decide what we should watch then in a way they are judging our thought process. That is my problem. Keeping silent about such things is not an option otherwise, it will make us regressive as a society. People will feel repressed and it would lead to a lot more problems.”
Fellow actor Neil Bhoopalam adds, “These sort of bans and curbing affect each and everyone of us. You cannot have an authority telling you this cannot happen and that cannot happen. It stunts us as a nation… The more you are suppressed, the more angry people will get.”
India’s Daughter was broadcast in the U.K. earlier this month. Bosses at the BBC rejected Indian officials’ plea to stop showing the film internationally.