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Provoked (film): Wikis


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Directed by Jag Mundhra
Produced by Sunanda Murali Manohar
Written by Carl Austin,
Rahila Gupta
Starring Aishwarya Rai,
Gurpreet Dhami,
Nandita Das
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Madhu Ambat
Editing by Sanjeev Mirajkar
Distributed by Private Moments Ltd.
Release date(s) April 6, 2007 (UK)
Country  United Kingdom
Language English
Gross revenue $3,078,709 (INT)

Provoked is a 2007 UK based English language film, directed by Jag Mundhra. It stars Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews, Miranda Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, Nandita Das and Steve McFadden. The film is based on the true story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia who killed her abusive husband.

Cinematography for the film was handled by Madhu Ambat. The film's score and soundtrack was composed by A. R. Rahman, and the theme song for the film, "Alive", was composed by Rahman and sung by Karen David, who has a small cameo in the film. Shot in London, the film was released in April (Easter Weekend) 2007.



Kiranjit Ahluwalia (Aishwarya Rai), a battered Punjabi homemaker and mother of two, living in Southall, UK with her 2 children and abusive, alcoholic husband, Deepak Ahluwalia (Naveen Andrews). Unable to bear the brutality and repeated rapes at the hands of her spouse, she sets fire to his feet, unintentionally killing him. Charged with murder, her case comes to the notice of a group of South Asian social workers running an under funded organization called the Southall Black Sisters.

After being sentenced to life imprisonment, she befriends her cellmate, a caucasian woman named Veronica Scott (Miranda Richardson), who teaches her English. Veronica is also friends with several girls in the prison and stands up for Kiranjit against the local prison bully. Veronica realises what a good person Kiranjit is and enlists her brother, Edward Foster QC (Robbie Coltrane), a highly respected Queen's Counsel, to aide in Kiranjit's appeal. Edward, in turn, realizes Kiranjit's importance to his sister and the importance of her case. His sister's request has additional meaning given that Veronica would not let him help her with her own appeal due to their on off relationship since childhood.

Before Kiranjit's appeal hearing the Southall Black Sisters bring her plight to the attention of the media by organizing rallies to gather public support for her freedom. She is ultimately freed by the judicial system in a landmark case called "R v Ahluwalia", redefining provocation in cases of battered women in the UK. (She was reconvicted from murder to manslaughter; but released with time served). Kiranjit is reunited with her children and subsequently given an award by Cherie Blair, for her crusade against domestic violence. (The award is not shown on the film although it is accredited at the end).




Press Screenings

This film was screened in the Marché du Film Cannes Film Market during the Cannes Film Festival in April, 2006 . Aishwarya Rai was present with director Jag Mundhra to promote the film through press conferences and parties. In June, the film opened the 2006 IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Film Festival in Dubai. The screening was attended by many prominent Bollywood personalities including Amitabh Bachan and Shabana Azmi, as well as by international media. Aishwarya Rai flew down from her shooting schedule for the day to attend the premiere.


The Southall Black Sisters, who helped the real-life Kiranjit Ahluwalia, have criticised the film for being riddled with "factual and legal inaccuracies". Two members from the organization, Pragna Patel and Rahila Gupta, whose characters have been merged to create one person, played by the Indian actress Nandita Das, said it took "a lot of artistic license".

After seeing the film, Ms Patel is said to have told the Oberserver newspaper "I cringe a bit because I was so closely involved. Sometimes I think people should rise to the challenge of reflecting real life better. My view is that the reality is far more interesting."[1]

Rahila Gupta, who co-wrote Circle of Light and the script, added: "It's a shame that film is an artistic form in which you have to make a fair amount of compromises to make it happen." She criticised the film's characterisation as "one dimensional", and the portrayal of Kiranjit Ahluwalia's husband as an alcoholic.

In the film Kiranjit Ahluwalia is portrayed as a middle class homemaker instead of a factory worker as she was in reality, Pragna Patel and Rahila Gupta's characters are merged to create one person, played by the Indian actress Nandita Das, and Americanized legal terminology rather than the actual British. The director Jagmohan "Jag" Mundhra in his defense said "Even if you tell a true story, a true story is never really a true story. How do you define the truth? None of us were really there and obviously the recollections of people who were there have changed now. Ultimately I do have to tell an engaging story. If I can't tell an engaging story no matter what cause is at stake, nobody will see it."[1]

Box office

The movie received theatrical distribution on May 11, 2007 in 12 theaters, grossing $30,000 in the opening weekend. It's box office run wrapped up after 3 weeks, grossing $761,740 in the domestic market and $2,316,969 from overseas for a worldwide total of $3,078,709.[2]


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