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#Backing: ‘India’s Daughter’ Oscar-worthy? Oscar-winner Meryl Streep thinks so.

Oscar-winner Meryl Streep has thrown her not-insignificant support the controversial film ‘India’s Daughter’, saying it deserves an Academy Award.

The film, which depicts the horrific gang-rape and murder of a medical student on a Delhi bus in December 2012, was banned in India earlier this year but has just opened across the United States to great acclaim.

Streep introduced the documentary at its U.S. theatrical release in New York City on Wednesday night and said it was worthy of the movie industry's highest honour.

"I'm on the campaign now to get her nominated for best documentary," said Streep, speaking of the film's director, Leslee Udwin.

The hour-long film chronicles the gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student.

Ms Pandey and a friend had been out to see a movie when the pair were lured on to a bus where a group of men proceeded to carry out a horrific assault which caused outrage around the world.

Ms Pandey died after her assailants pushed a metal rod inside her and pulled out her intestines.

"When I first saw [the film] I couldn’t speak afterwards," Streep said.

The film draws on extensive footage of an interview in jail with one of the attackers, Mukesh Singh, who blamed the victim for being out in the evening with a male friend.

"A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night," he says. "A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy."

Sentenced to death, he has appealed his verdict along with three other convicted assailants also on death row.

The documentary, scheduled for broadcasting in 2012 in India, was banned while Udwin was in the country promoting it, the director said during a talk following its screening.

In a statement, the government warned that certain excerpts "appear to encourage and incite violence against women."

The movie will open in U.S. theaters on October 23 nationwide, promoter Christine Merser said.

Screenings are also scheduled in a handful of countries from Iceland to China.

Udwin said she had found hope in the outpouring of support following Singh's rape but was dismayed at the timid outcry after a 4-year-old girl was raped and beaten with stones in New Delhi earlier this month.

"Why are people not out on the streets now?" she said.

There were 33,764 victims of rape in India in 2013 according to the country's National Crime Records Bureau.

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#Pact: Could the Modi, Merkel meet pave way for revival of EU-India free trade talks?

The leaders of India and Germany pledged on Monday to revive efforts to reach an Indo-European free trade pact after talks fell apart this year, and struck deals to promote clean energy and make it easier to do business.

Although Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no mention in conversations with journalists of resuming talks on a free trade agreement between India and the European Union, it was perhaps the most significant "deliverable" of her trip to New Delhi.

The leaders "committed themselves to bringing about the earliest possible resumption of talks", said a joint statement issued after their three-hour talks.

Asia's third-largest economy has been relatively insulated from a slump in global trade, but Modi still needs to boost exports for his pitch to investors to "Make in India" to create skilled jobs for millions of young Indians.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, is looking to expand its presence in India to compensate for a slowdown in China.

Merkel's delegation was joined by bosses from household names like Siemens, Airbus, E.ON and Thyssenkrupp.

The trade talks have been on ice since earlier this year when India walked out in a row over exports of generic drugs to the European Union.

Germany, a world leader in renewable energy, will also provide more than 2 billion euros (£1.6 billion) in aid for solar projects and green energy corridors - or high-efficiency power grids - as part of a broader push for sustainable development.

The assistance, part of a raft of agreements signed in New Delhi, dovetails with efforts to bind India into a global debate that will culminate in the COP21 climate change summit in December.

"We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 in Paris that strengthens the commitment and the ability of the world, especially of poor and vulnerable countries, to transition to a more sustainable growth path," Modi told reporters.

India, the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was the last major country to submit its energy strategy ahead of the U.N. climate conference.

India's energy plan seeks to boost energy efficiency but makes no commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases - reflecting its view that richer nations bear most responsibility for global warming.

Responding, Merkel said: "We have understood, Prime Minister, that climate protection needs to be embraced by the people - who also have to reap a benefit."

India and Germany also signed an agreement to fast-track business approvals, providing German firms with a single point of contact to help them navigate a web of red tape that often thwarts initiative.

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#Court: This compelling film may just be the one to break India’s Oscar jinx.

A slow-burning and utterly compelling film about India’s creaking legal system has been chosen as the country’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film in next year’s Oscars.

Chaitanya Tamhane’s ‘Court’ has won widespread acclaim at film festivals around the world – including at this year’s London Indian Film Festival and many believe the film offers India its best shot at going home with a statuette.

As has been traditional with choosing a film from India’s vast and disparate film industry, Wednesday’s vote by a committee set up by the Film Federation of India, was also marred by controversy with a committee member resigning moments before the final announcement, accusing committee chairman Amol Palekar of corruption.

The committee member, film director Rahul Rawail, told Reuters that Mr Palekar had been “corrupt” although he insisted that Court was his choice too.

Palekar has refused to comment and said Court’s choice had been unanimous.

Filmed in English, Marathi and Hindi Tamhane’s film depicts India’s lumbering justice system through the eyes of an aged folk musician Narayan Kamble who is arrested on charges of "abetting suicide" following the death of a sewer-worker.

Thus begins a cat-and-mouse game between Kamble’s lawyer Vinay Vora and his scrupulous foe, the state prosecutor. 

Kambel and Vora have to battle not only a government with a propensity to lock away anyone who doesn’t appear to toe the line but also relies on outdated, often medieval, laws to do so.

It’s a remarkable film for many reasons, not least the gifted Tamhane who had never made a feature film before. 

The film won India’s national film award this year and writer-director Tamhane picked up the “Lion of the Future” award for debut films at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.

“Ever since we started making the film, we kept our expectations low,” Tamhane said on Wednesday. “Especially in this case, since these results tend to be so unpredictable, it just felt like a wise thing to not expect too much.”

An Indian film has never won the best foreign film Oscar, but “Lagaan“, “Salaam Bombay” and “Mother India” were shortlisted for the award.

Aamir Khan’s colonial-era epic “Lagaan” was the last to make the cut back in 2001.

Controversy erupted in 2013 when a little known Gujarati film named ‘The Good Road’ was chosen as India’s official choice over Ritesh Batra’s festival favourite ‘The Lunchbox’, sparking uproar on Twitter.

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