Set in London in the late 1980’s, PROVOKED is based on a true story. Unable to bear the brutality of her alcoholic husband, Deepak (Naveen Andrews, TV’s Lost), a battered Punjabi wife and mother of two, Kiranjit Ahluwalia (Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai, The Mistress of Spices, in her most unglamorous role to date), takes revenge by setting him on fire. Charging her with murder in the first degree, the British court sentences Kiranjit to life imprisonment. While in prison, she befriends her cell mate, a wealthy woman who teaches her to speak English and leaks her story beyond the prison walls. Kiranjit’s case garners the attention of a gutsy group of South Asian social workers, who fight to expose the immigrant mother’s plight to the media, ultimately leading to a landmark case that redefined the word “provocation” in British laws dealing with domestic violence. L.A.-based filmmaker Jag Mundhra (Bawandar “Sandstorm,” 2001 SAFF) avoids sentimentality in this intense drama that illustrates how one woman’s bravery helped fuel a nationwide crusade, and brought together a vibrant pool of talent for the production—besides Rai and Andrews, the cast also includes Miranda Richardson, Nandita Das, and Robbie Coltrane, and the musical score is by A.R. Rahman.
India/USA, 2006, In English and Punjabi with English subtitles, 111 min, Not Rated, Directed by Jag Mundhra