New Delhi: Kavitha Lankesh’s Gauri, the eponymous documentary film about her sister and slain journalist Gauri Lankesh, won the “Best Long Documentary Award” at the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal this year, its second international award so far.
The citation for the award reads: “A brave and uncompromising pulse-taking of the current crisis in Indian politics, focusing on the 2017 political assassination of trailblazing Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh. A “J’accuse” docu-thriller directed and narrated with verve by Gauri’s sister, Kavitha Lankesh”.
Second international award for my documentary on my beloved sister “Gauri”https://t.co/kaQCk0qwW5
— KavithaLankesh (@kavithalankesh) May 16, 2023
According to The Hindu, another Indian documentary film, All That Breathes, was the runner-up.
Last year, Gauri won the “Best Human Rights Film” award at the Toronto Women’s Film Festival.
In a March 2022 interview with The Federal, Lankesh spoke about why she decided to make the film. “To make a film on Gauri is a really tough decision because she was more than a sister to me. She was my friend, mentor, conscience keeper. I am still struggling to come to terms with her exit from this mortal world.”
“But I decided to do the film just because she is a model to thousands of women and journalists in this country … The world knew more about her only after her assassination,” the poet-filmmaker said.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at her Bengaluru residence in 2017 by a man who said he was following orders to kill Lankesh with the purpose of “saving his religion“. At the time of her death, Lankesh’s weekly magazine had come under attack for her views against the communal politics of the Sangh parivar in Karnataka.
The film was commissioned by the Netherlands-based press freedom organisation Free Press Unlimited, which says on its website that its mission is to support “local media professionals and journalists, particularly in countries with limited (press) freedom” and enable them to give people access to information through which “they can monitor their governments.”