Banned BBC documentary India’s Daughter gets Oscar push by top Hollywood actors

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India may have banned the screening of the BBC documentary India’s Daughter, but top Hollywood actors have thrown their weight behind its success at this year’s Oscar awards.

Some of the most high profile Hollywood mames who have endorsed this documentary for prestigious Oscar award include Sean Penn and Meryl Streep.

Also endorsing the documentary is Hollywood’s Indian import Freida Pinto.

Leslee Udwin’s gripping documentary India’s Daughter is scheduled to be released in the US on Friday. The documentary, which was abruptly banned by India’s Narendra Modi government after it alleged that the film showed India in poor light, is tipped to be a big Oscar success.

Udwin’s film is about 23-year-old gang rape victim Jyoti Singh, who died of her injuries in December 2012. Her murder had led to a huge global outrage with questions being raised on the safety of women in India.

Udwin, in this hour-long documentary interviewed Jyoti’s parents and the rapists, who are currently languishing in India’s Tihar Jail in Delhi.

Delhi High Court had sentenced four of the six men charged with sexual assault and murder to death.

Last week, Meryl Streep introduced India’s Daughter at a New York event, proclaiming she was on the campaign to get Udwin’s film nominated for a best documentary Oscar. “When I first saw [the film] I couldn’t speak afterwards,” Streep was quoted by British broadsheet The Guardin.

On Tuesday in Los Angeles at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Sean Penn also threw his support behind the film.

Introducing India’s Daughter, Penn said that the film was by no means pleasant to watch, but vital to experience. “I was never sure that films are important – until last week,” he said.

Comparing Udwin’s film to an MRI, Penn added: “It made me ponder manhood. It reminded me of a trip I took with my children many years ago to Tanzania. I remember saying to our guide how extraordinary it was to see a culture last the way it had been for a thousand years. And the guide said to me: ‘Don’t wish the static upon anyone. It will kill them.’”

The documentary was originally scheduled to have been broadcast by NDTV on International Women’s Day in March buy a court order banned it from going on air.

Its banning had sharply divided the public opinion in India with a sizeable popultion of India’s intellectual class criticising the ban. The news channel in question had protested by going off air for one hour in the slot originally meant to broadcast the documentary.

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