This film is based on my book, Circle of Light, renamed Provoked, which was co-written with Kiranjit Ahluwalia. Kiranjit suffered many years of intense physical, mental and sexual abuse at the hands of her brutal husband. In a bid for self-preservation, Kiran thought she would set fire to his feet so that he could never run after her again. But that act of survival went horribly out of control and Kiran ended up with a life sentence for murder. She was released on appeal after three years as a result of the successful campaign run by Southall Black Sisters. I have been a member of their management committee since 1989. The film follows Kiran’s journey from dazed vulnerability to self-empowerment in prison, spurred on by Radha Dalal, a fictionalised member of SBS, who is committed to changing the law on provocation that could not accommodate women’s experience of violence and their particular response to it. Kiran’s story is harrowing and shocking, but ultimately triumphant at a personal level. At a political level, her case proved to be a legal landmark and brought unprecedented attention to the issue of domestic violence.
I wrote the filmscript based on this book. It took eight years to be made, went through several rewrites and three different directors before it was finally made by Jagmohan Mundhra. He brought along his own scriptwriter, Carl Austin, who worked on almost all his films, to write a new draft based on my script and which, in turn, was shaped by some input from me so I got a co-writing credit for it. It was released in 2007 and remained in the top 15 most watched films for three weeks. It had a stellar cast including:
DVD is available here.