Anupam Kher’s brother, Raju Kher, of Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi Baatein with Anupam Uncle fame, has directed TV dramas and acted in movies like Ram Gopal Varma’s Jungle in 2000. The man is now making a comeback of sorts in a movie that visibly fetishes the December 2012 Delhi gangrape.
It is called Indian Never Again Nirbhaya. Whatever that means. Here is the movie’s poster, depicting what you are ostensibly supposed to immediately recognise as the bleeding body of Jyoti Singh in a rear-view mirror, clothed in a white dress, depicted in a shot that can only be described as an upskirt.
It feels in as much bad taste as that 2014 fashion photo shoot The Wrong Turn by Mumbai-based photographer Raj Shetye, that depicted a high fashion model fending off male advances in a bus. When asked at the time by Buzzfeed what the hell was wrong with him (or why he chose to do that shoot, I can’t remember the exact question), he said, “being a part of society and being a photographer, that topic moves me from inside. I stay in a society where my mother, my girlfriend, my sister are out there and something like this can happen to them also.”
Indian Never Again Nirbhaya is of course not the only work to be based on the horrifying events of December 2012. The story sparked a controversial documentary made by Leslie Udwin for the BBC called India’s Daughter, and Anatomy of Violence, a drama film by Deepa Mehta that set out to explore the root causes that led up to the rape. In 2013, the incident also inspired Bengali director Milan Bhowmick to make Nirbhoya, which focused on the December 2012 case, and wove in several others. One breathless report on Nirbhoya reads, “every female character of the film will have her own story of victimization.” It’s pretty interesting so far to see how different male and female filmmakers have handled this event, and it does really make you think about their motivations for making each of their works.