Jharkhand farmer who’s the subject of ‘To Kill A Tiger’ to join Oscars gala


Jharkhand farmer who’s the subject of ‘To Kill A Tiger’ to join Oscars gala. Image Source: IANS News

Los Angeles, March 10 : Priyanka Chopra Jonas was the star at a special screening of ‘To Kill A Tiger’, a soul-searing documentary feature by the Indian-Canadian Emmy-winning director Nisha Pahuja in the race for an Oscar, but the spotlight was on Ranjit, a Jharkhand farmer who’s the ‘hero’ of the film.

In the words of TV actor Sahil Salathia, who attended the exclusive screening on Saturday night at the Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles and Instagrammed about it: “Ranjit ji is an Indian farmer who supported his daughter (right till the end!) who was traumatised by life and the society. We need more role models like him in India.”

Highlighting what Ranjit, who is all set to attend the Oscars gala at LA’s Dolby Theater, was up against, Sahil wrote: “It is not easy knowing that three men in Jharkhand gang raped your 13-year-old daughter and the village thinks why not just get her married to one of the rapists, why take it to the court and involve the legal system … gaon ka naam kharab hoga … thu-thu hogi … waise bhi ladki bahar kyub thi?! … ladke jawaan hain … naadaani ho gayi … samaaj mein rehna hai ya nahi?!”

It took Pahuja eight years to make ‘To Kill A Tiger’. The world now knows about Ranjit’s brave fight and his daughter who was raped is now a young woman nurturing the dream of joining the police and fighting acts of violence against women.

Indian American media personalities Mindy Kaling and Dev Patel (‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘Lion’) have executive produced the documentary. And Priyanka came on board last month.

But as far as the odds of winning an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, which was bagged last year by Guneet Monga and Kartiki Gonsalves for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, ‘To Kill A Tiger’ is not a fancied candidate, with punters betting on either the Ukrainian war story, ’20 Days in Mariupol’, or ‘Bobi Wine: The People’s President’, which is about the superstar singer-turned-challenger to Uganda’s President for 35 years, Yoweri Museveni.

Writing about Pahuja, Sahil noted: “You are exactly the filmmaker the world needs! The impact of your documentary is intensely high. I am anyway a very sensitive man and I take immense pride in that. I was crying like a 13 year old … picking 13 as a reference because the victim was 13 too when this horrific incident happened.”

Commenting on the documentary, Sahil said: “[It] will break your heart and make you cry and feel so much anger in parts because some of us still blame the rape victim and are not ready to stand up for her or her loved ones who have been victimised.”

Sahil concluded his post with a reality check: “At the end of the documentary, statistics came in and my blood was boiling. Do you know … in India, a girl is raped every 20 minutes (most of the cases are not even registered!) Let that sink in!”