I have mixed feelings about the ban on the documentary India’s Daughter.
The lay TV viewer – and we are talking about a huge demographic here – is constantly distracted. The TV blares in the midst of domestic chaos. Anyone in the television industry will attest to how difficult it is to get his/ her attention which is fickle at the best of times – and the best way to do it is the lowest common denominator – programming.
They are also very conservative and traditional – and it cannot be denied that a large part of that mindset has a misogynist content.When they are working with a mindset like this and under such circumstances, channels find it necessary to have an anchor link (AL) in shows like Saavdhan India or other similar shows. They are like the traditional sutradhar who underlines, defines and guides the narrative. More importantly the AL controls the moral compass and that is important with the kind of audience we are taking about. (That was true during Bharatmuni’s time and that is true even today.)
Now, coming to India’s Daughter. There is no editorializing after the horrific statements made by the defense lawyers and the rapist prisoner.The target audience of this film – the way it has been made – is one with first world mentalities or sophisticated people. It assumes everyone will make the right inferences.
Without any kind of qualification or interference, those statements carry a clear ring of conviction and strong belief that will impress people, not the way we would expect it, but in a very different way. Though we find them shocking – if seen by the lay audience, they will be taken as validation and encouragement. The common man is very literal about these matters and not nuanced – and already living in the culture of misogyny. The film might have a retrogressive effect. If that was the government’s intention behind the ban – to safeguard the population from copycat crimes – there may have been something in it.
But they are reported as having said that they banned it because it made “India look bad.” That is not a valid reason.
I am not in favour of bans – any kind of ban – and I do believe the film should be seen – but it should be edited. By editing, I don’t mean removing those shots, but adding an anchor link.