'Provoked' - an acid test for Aishwarya
New Delhi : Aishwarya Rai's much-awaited film "Provoked", based on the true story of a battered NRI wife Kiranjit Ahluwalia who kills her abusive husband, is finally releasing Friday.
The film, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year and opened the International Indian Film Academy 2006 in Dubai, didn't get a good response from the people who were involved in Kiranjit's case.
The Southall Black Sisters, an organisation that helped Kiranjit, panned it saying it has "factual and legal inaccuracies". And Pragna Patel and Rahila Gupta, whose characters have been merged into one person and is played by Nandita Das in the film, alleged that it had taken a lot of artistic liberties.
Rahila, who co-wrote the book "Circle of Light" that chronicles Kiranjit's awful journey from a wife to a murderer and her fight to get justice, said it is a one-dimensional story.
Directed by Jagmohan Mundhra, the film revolves around Kiranjit (Aishwarya Rai) who moves to Britain after marrying Deepak Ahluwalia (Naveen Andrews). She is constantly abused and raped by her husband who is an alcoholic. After bearing his atrocities for 10 years, one fine day she kills him.
Charged with murder, she is sentenced to life imprisonment. While in the jail, she meets a wealthy white woman named Veronica Scott (Miranda Richardson). They become friends and when Kiranjit tells her story, Veronica is so moved that she asks her step-brother, Edward Foster (Robbie Coltrane), a highly respected Queen's Counsel, to file a fresh appeal in the court.
Her case grabs the attention of a group of South Asian social workers running an organisation called Southall Black Sisters. They also join the crusade and hold rallies to get public support and media attention to bring justice to Kiranjit.
Finally, Kiranjit is freed in a landmark case called Regina vs. Ahluwalia, that redefined the word 'provocation' in the case of a battered woman. She is reunited with her two children and also given an award for her crusade against domestic violence.
Except "Dhoom 2", for which the credit went to her co-stars and breathtaking action sequences, Aishwarya hasn't delivered a single hit in the last one year.
If she manages to impresses her fans with her portrayal of a battered wife in "Provoked", it will certainly put her in a different league. In short, Aishwarya's career hinges on the film's success at the Indian box office.