Bollywood director convicted of rape, faces life in prison

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Bollywood Director Accused Of Raping A US Graduate Student

Indian film-maker Mahmood Farooqui has been found guilty of raping an American research student last March at his Delhi home.

Farooqui, who co-directed with his wife Anusha Rizvi the 2010 release Peepli Live, faces between a minimum seven year prison sentence and a maximum life term, according to the Indian Express. The court is slated to hear arguments Tuesday before pronouncing its sentence.

The case first came to light when the victim, a student from Columbia University, filed a police complaint which led to Farooqui's arrest last June. He was later released on bail as the case went to trial in September.

Read More Indian Director Arrested on Rape Charges

The case is seen as a landmark as its verdict has been delivered under a 2013 amendment to the criminal law which included forced oral sex as a crime, the complainant's counsel Vrinda Grover told the Express. "This is perhaps one of the first cases of forced oral sex, which shows two things: that there was a crime for which we did not earlier have an offense named, now it has been recognized as rape. We're also very happy to see that the court relied on very credible evidence that the woman gave."

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PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Producer Mahmood Farooqui attends the 'Peepli Live' premiere during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 24, 2010 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images)
Indian Bollywood Actor Aamir Khan (L), writer and directors Anusha Rizvi (C) and Mahmood Farooqui (R) attend a promotional event for the new film' Peepli Live', in New Delhi on July 7, 2010. Khan produced the Bollywood film 'Peepli Live', written and directed by Anusha Rizvi and is scheduled to be relased on August 13. AFP PHOTO/Manan Vatsyayana (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
JAIPUR, INDIA - JANUARY 17: Mahmood Farooqui (C), Indian writer, artist and director, and Piyush Daiya (L) in conversation on âHabib Tanvir A Life in Theaterâ during the Jaipur Literature Festival, at Diggi Palace on January 17, 2014 in Jaipur, India. The Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 has an outstanding line-up of biographers, speakers and bhasha writers. Seventh edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, a mega annual gathering, kicked off in Jaipur on Friday with a keynote address by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. This yearâs five-day edition, which starts today, is sponsored by media company Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. As festival producer Sanjoy Roy acknowledged when the partnership with Zee was announced, corporate support is necessary to keep the show on the road. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: (L to R) Writer Mahmood Farooqui, actor Onkar Das, producer Ronnie Screwvala, director Anusha Rizvi, producer Aamir Khan, producer Kiran Rao pose for photos in Park City on January 24, 2010 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Producer Mahmood Farooqui attends the 'Peepli Live' premiere during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 24, 2010 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images)
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The brutal gang-rape of a young Delhi woman on a moving bus in New Delhi on December 16, 2012 sparked nationwide protests. The outcry led to a call for action against crimes against women which included legal amendments and fast-tracking rape cases.

According to the Express, the 2012 incident was also referred to in the testimony of the American woman who told the court that she "did not resist" the rape because she feared she would also be killed like the Delhi gang-rape victim.

Read More India Bans Telecast of BBC Rape Documentary

Farooqui was first introduced to the student, who is in her thirties, by Danish Hussain, a long-time friend of the director. Local reports added that in his testimony, Hussain said the victim immediately contacted him after she was assaulted by Farooqui.

Farooqui is expected to appeal the verdict and the case could go to a higher court. "Our fight for justice is by no means over," his wife Anusha Rizvi told the Hindustan Times. "We will approach the High Court for justice that has been denied to us."

Peepli Live, which premiered at Sundance in 2010, was a satirical take on a poor farmer's struggle to pay his loans, highlighting India's painful issue of farmer suicides. In its review, THR said, "Both funny and sobering, this film, produced by Bollywood icon Aamir Khan (the Oscar-nominated Lagaan), aims beyond Indian audiences."

The film was put forward as India's entry for the foreign-language Oscar in 2011.

Read More Peepli Live -- Film Review



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