A screening that’s bound to raise critical issues about this horrific social and political problem.

Acid attacks are a bitter aspect of many a woman’s life in South Asia including India. It reflects a deeply entrenched misogyny against women by husbands, disgruntled lovers and other male relatives. Survivors are usually unable to afford the long drawn treatment and left to nurse emotional and physical scars for life while their assailants roam free and rarely receive any punishment from an apathetic and uncaring state.

Saving Face, a documentary film on acid attacks against women in Pakistan, was directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge. It won the 2012 Academy Award for Documentary (Short Subject). The film will be screened by the Asia Society India Centre along with the NCPA, Taj Mahal Hotel and UN Women and be followed by a conversation between the directors and filmmaker Kiran Rao. Saving Face is Obaid-Chinoy’s 16th documentary film on subjects ranging from Afghan refugee children living in Pakistan, Iraqi refugees, and the second class status accorded to women in Saudi Arabia.

The film follows the personal stories of Zakia, a 39-year old woman whose husband threw acid on her after she filed for divorce, and Rukhsana, a 23-year-old, who was attacked by her husband and in-laws and forced to reconcile with them. Plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who chose to leave a prosperous London practice to return to his home country and help the victims, offers a ray of hope to women like Zakia and Rukhsana as they try to put their lives back together. The film also shows a cross section of civil society in Pakistan who support the women including NGOs, sympathetic policymakers, skilled doctors, the Acid Survivors Foundation-Pakistan, attorney Sarkar Abbass who fights Zakia’s case, and female politician Marvi Memon who advocates for new legislation. The screening and the conversation between Obaid-Chinoy and Kiran Rao is bound to raise critical issues about this horrific social and political problem in both Pakistan and India.

Saving Face, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge

Where: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai

When: July 24