Days and Nights in an Indian Jail

(1 × 49’ & 1 × 63’) UK

Channel 4

*Narrated by: Art Malik
Filmed, Produced & Directed by: Sunandan Walia & Yugesh Walia
Film Editor: Yugesh Walia
Executive Producer: Ros Franey

International Distribution by: Electric Sky Ltd.*

This film goes inside Tihar Central Jail in Delhi, the largest prison in South-East Asia. Filmed over a period of a year, it focuses on the lives of a handful of characters.

Raymond from London is on remand and is accused of smuggling 70kg of heroin. If convicted, he faces the next ten years in Tihar.

Laxmi is in the women’s part of the prison, serving life for the murder of her husband’s mistress. She thinks about him all the time, even though he has not visited her for five years. Then one day, he turns up, but he is no longer the man she had killed for.

The main narrative focuses on one family. That of Bhabhuti, his wife, Prempatta, and their son, Rama Shankar, all serving life sentences as a result of India’s unique dowry laws. Prempatta’s youngest daughter, Pushpa, also lives with her mother in the prison. But Pushpa’s future is uncertain as she is at an age when she must leave the jail. There is a choice of either sending her to the village or to a boarding school where a charity has found a place for her. The film charts the conflicts that arise in the family as Pushpa’s time of departure approaches.

The pressures of life in Tihar are movingly captured in this engaging documentary.

Shown to critical acclaim at the 2003 London International Film Festival

Review:

Narrated by Art Malik, this fascinating documentary explores the lives and experiences of a group of inmates at South Asia’s largest prison, Tihar in Delhi, over the course of a year. Despite their backgrounds in murder, theft and drug trafficking, the inmates emerge as disturbingly rounded human beings. Raymond, a 56-year-old Londoner, is accused of attempting to smuggle heroin, if convicted he faces a ten-year stretch in Tihar. Bhabuti, his wife Prempatta and son Rama are all serving life for the murder of Rama’s wife in a dowry killing. Prempatta’s infant daughter also shares their life of incarceration, until the day arrives when her parents have to face the harsh reality that she must leave the jail, to face an uncertain future on the outside without them. The pressures of Tihar and its sometimes brutal and yet occasionally exemplary regime, are skilfully captured in this heart-rending film.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney

Shown at many other international film festivals around the world.

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