In a small Indian village, Ranjit wakes up to find that his 13-year-old daughter “J” has not returned from a family wedding. A few hours later, she’s found stumbling home. After being dragged into the woods, she was raped by three men. Ranjit goes to the police, and the men are arrested. But Ranjit’s relief is short-lived, as the villagers and their leaders launch a sustained campaign to force the family to drop the charges.
A cinematic documentary, To Kill a Tiger follows Ranjit’s uphill battle to find justice for his child. In India, where a rape is reported every 20 minutes and conviction rates are less than 30 percent, Ranjit’s decision to support his daughter is virtually unheard of. With tremendous access, we witness the emotional journey of an ordinary man facing extraordinary circumstances. A father whose love for his daughter forces a social reckoning that will reverberate for years to come.
To Kill a Tiger deals with highly sensitive subject matter. The daughter of the main subject Ranjit is now over the age of 18, and she has consented to her name and identity being used in this film, in the hope that her story will help other girls and families in similar situations. Throughtout the documentary, Ranjit talks about the anger that is within him as he is unable to do anything to the rapitsts. Villagers stopped talking to the family of Ranjit and kept avoiding them. Social workers moved in the village asking the women why they had stopped talking to the family and what would work in this case. The women stated that the girl should marry one of the rapist as they beleive that the other two rapists did not do anything. The case of Ranjit’s daughter comes to the attention of Srijan Foundation, a non-governmental organization that works to sensitize men and boys on women’s rights, however Ranjit keeps feeling isolated even with the Srijan Foundation’s support. “J,” overall does feel from time to time that she is perceived as a bad girl by the villagers and she feels as though it is right as overall she feels it is her fault for being this naive.
Awarded Best Documentary at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (2023) and Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival (2022), To Kill a Tiger opens February 9 at Hot Docs in Toronto.