Jharkhand farmer celebrated in 'To Kill A Tiger' soaks in Oscars glamour

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Los Angeles, March 11 (IANS): When Ranjit, who was till then looking after his rice fields in one corner of Jharkhand, decided to stand up against his village and fight for his daughter after she was gang-raped in 2017, he was told, "You can't kill a tiger by yourself."

Recounting this conversation towards the end of New Delhi-born Indian Canadian filmmaker Nisha Pahuja's Oscar-nominated documentary feature, 'To Kill A Tiger', Ranjit says with steely determination, "But I replied, 'I'll show you how to kill a tiger all by yourself.' And so, I did."

'To Kill A Tiger' may have lost out, as was predicted, to '20 Days in Mariupol', but Ranjit had the time of his life that he had never imagined. Dressed in the regulation black tuxedo and bow tie, he was there at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the 96th Academy Awards, soaking in the glitz and glamour of the most-anticipated event in global cinema.

He may never be able to get over the trauma of his daughter's rape, but for Ranjit, it was the final vindication of his lonely battle against the odds piled up by an insensitive system. His daughter, who's now 20 years old, also has moved far away from her past as she nurtures the dream of becoming a policewoman fighting to protect women like her.

For Pahuja, whose previous documentary, 'The World Before Her', was nominated for an Emmy, it took eight years of hard work to put together 'To Kill A Tiger'.

The documentary has won her 19 awards (not the Oscar, sadly), besides being picked up by Netflix and getting the support of the leading lights of the global Indian diaspora -- Dev Patel, Mindy Kailing, poet Rupi Kaur, Dr Atul Gawande and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Pahuja and Ranjit can, for now, let their hair down and party after the curtains come down on the Oscars.

But they both know too well that their story is getting repeated every hour across the country. The tiger is still at large -- and difficult to kill.