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Indian film star 'very upset' about attempts to ban rape documentary

Lillete Dubey was speaking ahead of the UK premiere of Boiled Beans on Toast, which she directs, at Brentford's Watermans arts centre

Lillete Dubey

A leading Indian actress and director has criticised attempts to ban a controversial documentary about a rape which sent shockwaves through her native country.

Lillete Dubey appears in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and directs Boiled Beans on Toast, set to make its UK premiere at Watermans arts centre in Brentford on Tuesday (March 10).

She said she was "very upset" the Indian government was trying to ban the BBC documentary India's Daughter, in which a man convicted over the 2012 Delhi bus rape, which sparked national protests, appears utterly remorseless.

A Delhi Court issued an injunction against the film, the BBC reported, after police in India argued it could cause a public outcry.

"I'm very upset the Indian government is trying to ban this documentary," said Ms Dubey, who also appears in Channel 4 drama Indian Summers. "We've condemned the act [the rape], put these men in jail and are talking about the death penalty, which I think they thoroughly deserve, and now we don't want this documentary to be seen by the world.

"It's an absolutely shocking video and I think people in India should see it."

Boiled Beans on Toast

Ms Dubey described Boiled Beans on Toast as a snapshot of a country in transition and said the views expressed by the convict represented the "backwards thinking" which still exists in India alongside more modern attitudes.

Written by Girish Karnad, the drama follows the intertwining lives of six very different people brought together under one roof. It received rave reviews during a national tour of India last year.

The play takes its title from a folk tale about how Bangalore, where it is set, got its name. Legend has it a king once became lost in the forest and when he asked a poor old woman there for some food all she could rustle up was some boiled beans, so he named the area the "town of boiled beans".

The twist on that moniker, says Ms Dubey, represents how globalisation has turned Bangalore from a "quiet garden city" to a globally important IT hub.

"It's a deceptively simple play but it talks about a lot of issues which are relevant to any developing country. Through the eyes of the different characters you see the many social and economic classes of India," she says. "India's a fascinating country. It's constantly changing but there's still a lot of superstition and backwards thinking.

"Girish's play has a lot to say about many things, including how India's poor are living in places the wealthy don't want to know about. They don't want to know when the help comes where it's coming from."

Boiled Beans on Toast is the latest in a number of plays by Ms Dubey's company Primetime Theatre which she has brought to Watermans.

She describes her relationship with the riverside arts centre as like an "old marriage", as she feels so comfortable there and always gets a warm welcome, despite grumbles from some friends in central London about making the trek to the capital's western fringes.

Boiled Beans on Toast is at Watermans, in High Street, Brentford, from Tuesday (March 10) to Sunday (March 15). For tickets, priced £15 (£12.50 concessions), visit www.watermans.org.uk or call the box office on 020 8232 1010.

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