Free Press Journal

December 16 rapist like a robot: Documentary maker

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New Delh: Documentary maker Leslee Udwin, during the making of “India’s Daughter” which is based on the horrific December 16, 2012 gang rape in Delhi, tried several methods to evoke remorse or any other emotion in Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts, during their conversation but failed miserably. The director said he stoically listened to her like a robot.

“He is like a robot. I tried every possible thing to see if he had any remorse in him. I listed out the set of gruesome injuries these men had inflicted upon the victim, but he stood still, without any emotion,” Udwin said on Tuesday at a conference at the Royal Plaza here.

“The only influence on him is the mindset. How he has been brought up to look at women,” she said.


The Israeli-born director got herself embroiled in a controversy after some of the comments made by the convict hit the headlines on Monday, much before the documentary was scheduled to be aired March 8.

Delhi Police swung into action following the controversy over interviewing the convict.

“We are going to move the court against the broadcast of such inputs… This was a ghastly crime and the law has been broken, we will investigate the case,” Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi told reporters here.

Speaking to reporters, the British documentary maker said all the “necessary protocol” was followed in the making of the documentary.

“I wrote a letter to Tihar’s director general saying that the film will be in public interest and there won’t be any unnecessary sensationalism. I was given the permission and I interviewed these convicts from October 8 to 10, 2013,” she said on being asked whether permission was taken to interview the convicts.

“This controversy is unnecessary and I request you all to watch the film first before concluding anything. The footage was shown to the jail authorities,” she added.

She said she started working on the documentary two years ago as she was “shocked and upset” after the story of the brutal gang rape of the 23-year-old woman in a moving bus made it to the headlines across the globe.

But what was more shocking for her was the way these convicts felt about women’s status in society and judged them on the basis of conservative mindsets.

In fact, Mukesh Singh, in his interview, openly blamed the victim and said a “girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy” and also that the victim should not “resist” when being raped.

What Udwin hopes to achieve through this documentary is to challenge the mindset and look at gender inequality in society.

“The film should make you think how women are treated in your family and the country. What kind of attitude we have towards women in our society and how that can be changed by instilling gender equality at a very early age and at home,” she told IANS.

For this documentary, Udwin spoke to the convicts, their families and the parents of the victim.

One of the most memorable moments for her was when she watched the hour-long film with the victim’s family in complete silence and after it ended, her father told her “Bahut accha hai” (It is very good).

“They are extraordinary human beings who have shown extraordinary courage,” she said.

The documentary is to be broadcast in India on International Women’s Day on March 8 on NDTV 24X7 at 9 p.m. It is to be simultaneously shown in countries like Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Canada. But with the police planning to move court against airing the documentary, a question mark remains on its telecast.