Rupa's Boutique

India's last refuge for acid attack victims

Rupa's Boutique In recent years, India's patriarchal order has been called into question by an increasingly educated and culturally aware generation of women. In response, acid attacks on women have become a disturbingly frequent occurrence. As cowardly as they are devastating, those afflicted are left mentally and physically scarred. Rupa’s Boutique profiles the bravery and perseverance of six young acid attack survivors who are defying their trauma to pursue their dreams.

“I was fifteen steps away from home when two people came at me on a motorbike... I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t think they were for me. I looked at the acid that had been poured on me. At first I didn’t feel a thing, and then my skin started to burn and sting.” A dispute with a male neighbour led to Soniya being attacked with acid. Large areas of her face were left permanently scarred. Almost as traumatic as the attack itself was the response of many of those who should have been there to support her: one relative suggested to Soniya that she “should just be given the lethal injection.”

There are around five acid attacks in India every week. Only a small number of attackers are ever convicted of a crime. As the system is unprepared to confront the extent of violence against women, so the perpetrators are often shockingly lacking in remorse. One man who attacked his wife with acid after drinking - and accidentally burned his daughter in the process - says he did it because his wife was disobedient. “I thought that by looking in the mirror she’d remember…Now everything’s back to normal. I apologised. What happened is in the past.” For Abhilash Shukla, a project manager at a foundation set up to help survivors, the rise in the number of attacks against women speaks to a deep-seated male insecurity. “From the cases we realised that unrequited love is often the reason for the attacks. They want to destroy their beauty because they think that if she can’t be mine then she shouldn’t be anyone else’s either.”

Yet more and more survivors are determined to defy expectations of them. For Dolly, who was attacked by a man in her home as a child, the pain and suffering has only hardened her resolve to be a dancer. Rupa, who was just a teenager when she was attacked by her stepmother, wants to be a fashion designer, and hopes that by fulfilling her ambition she can inspire other survivors to pursue their dreams: “I want to become a designer and I want to show other survivors of acid attacks or rape that they can’t live in fear.”

LaurelUnited Nations Association Film Festival - Grand Jury Award For Best Documentary
LaurelBarcelona Planet Film Festival - Best Documentary Feature
LaurelWe The Peoples Film Festival - Official Selection
Laurel“Prvi kadar” International Film Festival - Grand Prix for the Best Movie of the Festival
LaurelPORTO FEMME International Film Festival - Best Documentary Award
LaurelWe The Peoples Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelSmita Patil Documentary Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelDocLAHOMA – Official Selection
LaurelPeloponnisos International Documentary Festival – Official Selection
LaurelChina Women's Film Festival – Official Selection

The Producers

Glória Halász - Director/Producer

Glória Halász is an award-winning director. Her films include 'Dr. Lala', which is about a clown doctor and won main awards at the Opuzen Film Festival and CineFest International Film Festival, and the theatrically released 'What a Circus!' about a contemporary circus company. Her latest film, 'Rupa's Boutique' has won the Grand Jury Award at UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival).

Balazs Hatvani - Producer/Director of Photography

Balazs Hatvani is a director and cinematographer, who has worked with actors like Lance Henriksen or Mark Hamill. His directional debut, the feature horror-comedy 'Gingerclown' has been acquired by Lionsgate Entertainment.

Gábor Osváth - Producer

Gábor Osváth is the owner of Filmfabriq. His films were selected at Berlinale Shorts, Cannes Cinéfondation, Sundance, Jihlava and many more, with two titles also being nominated for the European Film Awards. He was chosen to be one of the Emerging Producers of 2016.

Praaful Chaudhary - Producer

Praaful Chaudhary is an India-based producer and visual effects supervisor, who works on the field of 3D animations, concept arts and special effects.

Making The Film

After an almost two years pre-production, the shooting began in India, and we followed the life of the acid attack victims in cities like Agra, Delhi and Faridabad. We tried to understand their life and their vision about the future. With making the film would like to raise the attention to an extremely serious and yet to be solved social problem and we do hope that the message of the girls' (Rupa, Soniya, Gita, Neetu, Dolly, Laxmi) recovery may give strength to ordinary people struggling with everyday problems anywhere in the world, not to mention the ones suffering from actual physical or mental oppression.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more info see our Cookies Policy