The Khabar Lahariya statement came even as Writing With Fire is poised to make a splash at the Oscar awards, which will be announced next Monday (March 28), Indian time. After being premiered to acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021, the documentary has since been shown at several prestigious festivals.

It is the first Indian production to be shortlisted for an Academy Award in the best documentary feature category. Should Writing With Fire score a win on March 28, it will also mark the first time Indians have lifted a trophy in a directing section.

The three journalists profiled in the film as well as Kavita Bundelkhandi watched Writing With Fire in 2021 itself. “The journalists at Khabar Lahariya have through all of 2021, joined the filmmakers virtually at several festivals and panel discussions representing the film and talking about their work,” Thomas and Ghosh said. “They have also used the spotlight on the film to speak about their work independently with the international media.”

These include a lengthy interview that Meera Devi did with the filmmakers at a documentary festival in Amsterdam, where she asked them about their editorial choices and their perception of some of the issues raised in the film, such as caste.

Apart from being on the film festival circuit, the documentary has been released in theatres in the US. However, Writing With Fire is not yet available in India.

Bundelkhandi said that Khabar Lahariya had been flagging its concerns to the filmmakers ever since they first saw what they thought was a rough cut. Matters came to a head when the entire organisation saw the film together in late February through a password-protected link.

“We have been raising these questions right from the beginning and have been emailing them,” Bundelkhandi said.

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