Performativity of rape culture through fact and fiction: An exploration of India’s Daughter and Anatomy of Violence

Ashvin Devasundaram, Ravinder Barn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Downloads (Pure)


The power and influence of film and documentaries in public discourse and in formal pedagogical practices is recognized as critical. The content and message of a documentary are likely to be regarded as the ‘truth’. This is generally located in the belief that since a documentary is focused on a real-life event, it seeks to objectively expose key issues and concerns to reveal the veracity of the phenomenon under scrutiny. This article explores the portrayal of fact and fiction through film and documentary as exemplified by Deepa Mehta’s film Anatomy of Violence and Leslee Udwin’s film India’s Daughter (2016 and 2015 respectively), selected for their focus on the rape and murder of a Delhi student dubbed by the media as ‘Nirbhaya’ in 2012. The article investigates how these two media forms make use of fact or fiction to enhance understanding of a key social quandary, examining notions of temporality, spatiality, determinism and patriarchy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of Cultural Studies
Early online date27 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2020


  • Bollywood, cinema, documentary, India, media, rape

Cite this