Nisha Pahuja’s Documentary “To Kill a Tiger” Sheds Light on Father’s Quest for Justice in India

Nisha Pahuja’s documentary “To Kill a Tiger” delves into the harrowing story of a father’s relentless pursuit of justice after his 13-year-old daughter was abducted and sexually assaulted by three men in a small village in India. The film, which has garnered over 20 awards, sheds light on the cultural complexities and challenges faced by the family and the community.

Pahuja, known for her previous documentary “The World Before Her,” describes the making of “To Kill a Tiger” as one of the most difficult endeavors she has undertaken. She acknowledges the responsibility of her camera in protecting the family while bearing witness to a necessary change. However, the negative spotlight on the village has caused friction within the community, with some suggesting that the girl should marry one of her assailants to restore her honor.

The filmmaker first encountered the film’s subjects, Ranjit and his daughter Kiran (pseudonym), while working on a different project focused on gender sensitization programs for men and boys. The level of trust established between Pahuja and the family was a gradual process, with several months required for them to become comfortable with the presence of the camera. Consent and informed consent were crucial considerations throughout the filming process, with the family actively involved in decision-making.

The core team consisted of Pahuja, her husband Mrinal Desai as the director of photography, a sound recordist, and a driver. Occasionally, an assistant joined for more complex shoots involving the community. The initial plan to use animation or facial replacement technology to protect Kiran’s identity was abandoned due to ethical concerns. Ultimately, Kiran, now an adult, chose to be seen in the film, proud of her courage and achievements. She has since left the village and aspires to become a police officer.

The documentary boasts an impressive list of executive producers, including Dev Patel, Mindy Kaling, Rupi Kaur, and Atul Gawande. Their involvement was secured after they viewed early cuts of the film and believed in its message. Pahuja recognized the need to involve individuals with a significant platform to raise awareness and ensure the film reaches a wider audience.

Author: CrimeDoor

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