Films & Schedules

  • Yes Madam, Sir

  • Megan Doneman

Hindi, English
95 minutes

Production Company:
Sojourn Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producer:
Monica Blinco, John Lynch, Annie Collins
Megan Doneman, Laraine Doneman
Megan Doneman
Megan Doneman
Andrew Plain
Nathan Larson
Narrator: Helen Mirren

TIFF Tags: Comedy  Violence  Documentary 

Friday September 0502:30PM AMC 6 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0712:00PM AMC 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1309:00AM AMC 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Kiran Bedi is arguably India's most controversial daughter, both revered by her supporters and reviled as a self-centred publicity seeker by her critics. In this captivating examination of her life, Australian documentarian Megan Doneman shows that whatever people may think of Bedi personally, there is no disputing her professional achievements.

One of four sisters, Kiran Bedi was raised by parents who wanted her to be educated and independent. In 1972, after a star turn as a champion athlete, her interest in social issues led her to become the first woman to join the Indian Police Service, a position she almost had to obtain through the courts. Her penchant for setting herself apart was evident early in her career. During the Punjab separatist riots, armed only with a wooden stick, Bedi single-handedly fought back three thousand sword-wielding Sikh militants as all of her male colleagues retreated. Asked if she was frightened, Bedi stoically replied, “No, I was very focused.”

That determination soon became a burr under the saddle of the all-male Indian police bureaucracy and politicians alike. During the next chapters of her career, Bedi was given all of the worst postings, no doubt with an eye towards having her quietly “disappear.” In the nineties she was put in charge of Tihar Jail, Asia's largest, most notoriously corrupt prison, overcrowded to the point of housing ten thousand inmates. In a few short months, Bedi transformed the prison into an institution that garnered international attention, creating literacy, medical, spiritual and educational programmes. Jealous of this attention, her superiors hurriedly transferred her from Tihar, blackening her name in the process. Bedi fought to regain her reputation, and when she was reassigned to the failing, allegedly corrupt Police Training Academy, she vowed to turn it around. And she did.

Through these professional peaks and valleys, an unconventional marriage and her final decision to leave India for a position at the United Nations in New York, Bedi has rarely waivered in her struggle for justice, institutional effectiveness and change. As characterized in this compelling documentary, Bedi is both an iconoclast and a revolutionary, no doubt preparing to take on her next extraordinary challenge.

Jane Schoettle

Megan Doneman was born in Australia and studied business communications and film at the University of Technology in Sydney. During the last decade, she worked as an assistant editor on a number of films, including Babe: Pig in the City (98), Mission: Impossible II (00) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy’s The Two Towers (02) and The Return of the King (03). Yes Madam, Sir (08) is her first documentary feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award