In an interview on 28 October 2015 with Chitra Subramaniam of The News Minute, Anjali Bhushan has made some unsubstantiated accusations against Leslee Udwin, the director of the award-winning documentary, India’s Daughter.
In this interview, Anjali Bhushan claims that “Leslee Udwin “coached” Mukesh the rapist. Asking leading questions is one thing, but pushing to get a line said exactly the way you want it is not ethical documentary filmmaking.”
I am Amulya Malladi and I am credited as a translator for India’s Daughter. I was responsible for the transcription of nearly 12+ hours of video tape interview of Mukesh Singh in Tihar Jail. I am educated as a journalist and professionally I am an author with novels published by The Random House Publishing Group and Amazon Lake Union.
I have gone through these interview tapes several times during the transcription and editing process – and I have also watched and analyzed the cuts of India’s Daughter, from rough to finished.
The interview of Mukesh Singh was organic and driven by Leslee Udwin, however, since Leslee doesn’t speak any Hindi (hence she needed me to transcribe those videos) and Mukesh doesn’t speak English – the interview though led by Leslee was conducted by Anjali Bhushan and Dibang Banerjee.
In none of these 12+ hours did Leslee “coach” Mukesh. She would not have been able to either due to the language barrier. The process Leslee used was that Anjali/Dibang would ask a question and then they would quickly make notes in English and then Leslee would ask a new question in English that Dibang/Anjali would translate. Anjali and Dibang also asked questions outside of what Leslee asked based on the “organic” nature of such interviews based on the answers Mukesh gave.
There is not a single instance of “coaching” as insinuated by Anjali Bhushan in this interview. Throughout the interview, Leslee focused on getting to the truth of what happened on the night of 12 December 2012; and understand Mukesh and his motivations and those of his cohorts. She strived to see the “humanity” in Mukesh though she didn’t find anything but callous disregard for human life, especially a woman’s life.
It pains me deeply that this difficult process I had to go through to transcribe these tapes –and the even more horrific and painful journey Leslee Udwin had to take to do these interviews are now being questioned. Anjali Bhushan was there during the interviews, a cameraman was there, there was no coaching or coercing for specific answers.
Leslee Udwin is a professional and ethical filmmaker and this kind of mudslinging takes away from the essence and purpose of this documentary film – to drive rape out of our culture and forge gender equality.