Leslee Udwin spent two years making a documentary on the horrific rape and killing of young medical student Jyoti Singh. And it asks, has the attack really spurred a sea change for gender equality in India?
Jyoti Singh, 23, had cause to celebrate. It was no ordinary Sunday. “Happiness was just a few steps away,” says her father, Badri Singh, a labourer. He and his wife, Asha, originally from Uttar Pradesh, had sold their family land, to provide schooling not just for their two sons but also Jyoti. “Papa,” Jyoti had instructed her father. “Whatever money you’ve saved for my wedding, use it for my education.” Badri’s brothers wondered why he was wasting money on a girl.
On this Sunday, 16 December 2012, Jyoti, a name that means light and happiness, had just completed her medical exams to become a doctor. Speaking excellent English, she spent nights working in a call centre from 8pm until 4am, slept for three hours, then studied. Her ambition was to build and run a hospital in her family’s village. “A girl can do anything,” she would say.