Sex as violence

Indian-Canadian director Deepa Mehta speaks to Life about her latest film, which asks difficult questions on gender inequality

Deepa Mehta at the special screening of Anatomy Of Violence in Bangkok last Friday. Photo: UN Women/Pathuumporn Thongking

The raw urgency of award-winning Indian-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's film Anatomy Of Violence, which examines the 2012 shocking assault and rape of medical student Jyoti Singh by six men aboard a moving bus in New Delhi, drives home the need to address gender inequality at the root.

Mehta, an Oscar-nominated director, is recognised for her movies which challenge traditions and stereotypes such as the elemental trilogy Earth, Fire and Water. The Amritsar-born filmmaker was recently in Bangkok for a special screening of Anatomy Of Violence, which was part of UN Women's 2017 HeforShe Arts Week.

Anatomy Of Violence is a concoction between fiction and fact in an improvised exploration of the events leading up to and following the notorious gang rape of the 23-year-old woman, who eventually succumbed to her injuries. The incident sparked huge protests across the sub-continent, whipping up along the way a broader conversation about public safety for women in a culture that sometimes risks being branded misogynistic. Utilising an improvisational style, the film probes what might have driven the rapists towards such a vicious assault and also dramatises the back stories of the assailants and their victim prior to the fatal attack.

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