Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto to Present U.S. Premiere of Banned Indian Rape Documentary

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British filmmaker Leslee Udwin's 'India's Daughter,' which was banned in India, will unfurl stateside following its global simulcast on International Women's Day.

Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto will present the U.S. premiere of India's Daughter by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, which has been banned for telecast in India.

The controversial BBC documentary chronicles the horrific 2012 gang rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi which sparked a national furor and massive street protests.

Co-produced by well-known Indian journalist Dibang, the film includes an interview with one of the four jailed attackers — Mukesh Singh — who said women were more responsible for rapes then men, igniting local and international outrage.
 
The film was scheduled to premiere in India as part of a global simulcast on Sunday, March 8 — International Women's Day — on leading news network NDTV (New Delhi Television). But police secured a court injunction blocking the film's broadcast in India with the order also preventing publication of the Singh interview by local media.

Meanwhile, the BBC advanced its screening of the film from Sunday to Wednesday, leading Indian authorities to send a legal notice to the U.K. public broadcaster for “violation of contract.”

The U.S. premiere will take place on Monday, March 9, at the Baruch College of the City University of New York, organized by the Vital Voices Global Partnership — which empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs — and children's development organization Plan International. The Vital Voices board includes actress Sally Field and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Pinto is the global ambassador for Plan International's Because I Am a Girl campaign.

“What impelled me to leave my husband and two children for two years while I made the film in India was not so much the horror of the rape as the inspiring and extraordinary eruption on the streets,” Udwin — a Plan International ambassador who will also be present at the U.S. premiere — said in a statement. She remembers the street protests as an “Arab Spring for gender equality. … They were protesting for my rights and the rights of all women. That gives me optimism. I can’t recall another country having done that in my lifetime."
 
“The entire world must heed this wise and brave call. It’s not just India — it’s everywhere,” said Vital Voices’ vice president of human rights Cindy Dyer. “The film reveals the shocking but ingrained cultural norms that continue to persist among some men and women in our society, and it paints with vivid detail the thought processes of the perpetrators who commit these crimes.”
 
India’s Daughter will be screened on Sunday, March 8, in countries including Switzerland, Norway and Canada.

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