10 April 2023 1:03 PM GMT
India’s top law schools and Universities hosted screenings of Vakeel Babu, a critically acclaimed fictional film about gender violence and the justice system, through February and March. The film - directed by Sumit Purohit - tackles themes around domestic violence and the need for gender sensitivity among legal practitioners. So far, screenings held at The National Law University...
India’s top law schools and Universities hosted screenings of Vakeel Babu, a critically acclaimed fictional film about gender violence and the justice system, through February and March. The film - directed by Sumit Purohit - tackles themes around domestic violence and the need for gender sensitivity among legal practitioners. So far, screenings held at The National Law University (NLU), Delhi, and The Faculty of Law, Delhi University & Government Law College, Mumbai have received a exciting response from hundreds of enthusiastic students, who showed their appreciation with several rounds of applause and in-depth questions during the post-screening & panel discussion sessions.
These screenings are being organized by Civic Studios, a Mumbai-based production house that was incubated at MIT Media Lab (USA) with the aim of creating entertainment content that creates social change.
The Film has been the official nomination at several Indian and international film festivals like Chicago South Asian Film Festival 2022, IFFSA Toronto 2022, New York Indian Film Festival 2022 to name a few.
The ongoing campaign across India’s top law colleges is a step to generate conversation around crucial issues with young law practitioners and law students Several more screenings are lined up over the next few weeks at reputed law colleges across Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore.
Each screening also features an enriching panel discussion featuring eminent personalities from the legal and social justice sectors. Panels so far featured renowned human rights lawyer Kawalpreet Kaur, feminist and women’s rights activist Khadija Farooqui, gender violence counselor, author and recipient of The Naari Shakti Puraskaar and The Neerja Bhanot Award Rashmi Anand, and Deeksha Gujaral, India Program Director of legal justice NGO iProbono and co-writer of popular legal drama 'Guilty Minds'. Panels in Mumbai featured Advocate Persis Sidhva, Director at RATI foundation, and Dolphy D’souza, Project lead at Commonwealth Human Rights initiative.
Gender rights activist and panelist at the screening event at Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, Khadija Farooqui supported the endeavor by saying a key solution to achieving a more gender-sensitive justice system was early engagement with law students. “Lawyers and Judges don’t come from Mars and Venus - they come from society itself. That’s why law students need to be trained from the beginning to have a neutral perspective towards enforcement of law,” she advised.
Kawalpreet Kaur, another panelist summed up the intent and spirit of the campaign with her suggestion to upcoming lawyers, “Take up law, take risks, take up diverse cases of human rights, be kind, and do not think about money. Money does come eventually, but take risks, take up diverse cases, take cases of human rights, be kind, and be gentle. This way we can make the judiciary more sensitive towards women and other communities”
Vakeel Babu has been lauded across platforms for raising important points about serious social issues such as domestic violence, women’s rights, and affirmative action through an engaging and entertaining story starring Abhishek Banerjee (Paatal Lok, Mirzapur) as the central protagonist, and a cast of powerful female actors including Loveleen Mishra (Raees, Amu), Bhamini Oza (Aum Mangalam Singlem), Mitra Gadhvi (Oscar entry Chello Divas) among others.
Anushka Shah, Founder of Civic Studios shares, "With nearly 4.3lakh reported incidents of crime against women in 2021 alone, gender-based violence remains a major issue. We’ve crafted this extensive two-month-long impact campaign for our studio production ‘Vakeel Babu’ to draw attention to the plight of women victims and highlight the critical role played by lawyers in defending their rights. Depicting the on-ground challenges and bias faced by most victims, we hope ‘Vakeel Babu’ can inspire young practicing lawyers and law students to adopt an empathetic approach when dealing with gender-based violence victims.”
Civic Studios, which strives to deliver entertainment with a social message, develops and funds long-form content that aims to educate and empower audiences. Vakeel Babu, its latest endeavor, was released in early 2023 and is now available on Amazon Mini TV.
ABOUT CIVIC STUDIOS
Civic Studios is a production house located in Mumbai, India that is focused on telling stories that entertain, engage and empower us to build a better world. It is spearheaded by Anushka Shah, and has been incubated at the MIT Media Lab under the Civic Entertainment Research Project. The studio’s vision is to leverage the power of storytelling for social change. It believes in creating compelling stories that attract audiences for their craft and for their voice- showcasing latent and ignored issues, as well as imagining solutions that will strengthen us as a democracy. Civic Studios is geared to develop, finance, and produce short and long format, fiction and nonfiction narratives for the OTT landscape. It also runs Pocket Change- a Hindi YouTube comedy channel that creates relatable, short form, comedy content for young Indians with civic engagement at its heart.