Bawandar (Sandstorm), an Indian film depicting the true story of Bhanwari Devi, a low-caste woman gang-raped for criticising child marriages, has won the award for best feature film at the Zanzibar Festival of Dhow Countries, held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The controversial film, directed by Jag Mohan, follows the rural activist's fight for justice against the upper caste men who raped her, confronting sexism and political greed in the Indian judiciary.

The festival ran from 29 June to 14 July with films selected from the countries on the rim of the Indian Ocean who shared ancient trade links serviced by wooden vessels called Dhows.

Runner-up in the feature category was the Iranian film, Whispers, about three young siblings roaming the streets of Tehran, was.

The winner of the Golden Dhow award for best short feature was One Evening In July, a Tunisian film about a beautician who prepares young women for their weddings. The silver award went to Father, an Ethiopian film directed by Ermias Woldeamlak.

At least one hundred films were screened and judged within the competition. The traditional musical element of the festival was muted, however, in respect for the sudden death of Dr Omar Ali Juma, Tanzania's deputy prime minister who died on 4 July.