Movies

Prakash Jha forced to succumb on 'Aarakshan'

NEW DELHI: Forced to succumb in the face of threats and bans from several parts of the country, filmmaker Prakash Jha today made certain changes in the film following allegations that his film was anti-Dalit or has questioned the reservation policy.


Asked about this, Jha said in a telephonic conversation with indiantelevision.com: ‘I am in firefighting mode - cannot talk now. But can anyone show a thought-provoking film in this country without being forced to make changes?‘


While the Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh Governments have already placed bans on the release of the film, controversies have also erupted in the Maharashtra and Bihar assemblies.


The Andhra Government, in its order, said that the film may hurt sentiments of weaker sections. It also said that the exhibition of the film can "lead to protests and agitations, leading to breach of the peace and tranquility in the State. "


Hence the court has directed the suspension of "the exhibition of the Hindi film Aarakshan initially for a period of one week or till a final decision is taken on the report of the Committee constituted for the purpose, whichever is earlier ".


The National Commission for Scheduled Castes had said yesterday that Jha ‘s film should only be released after some changes are made. The Commission, which saw the film, objected to the "derogatory way" the backward community has been represented in the film. The Commission asked the Central Board for Film Certification to review necessary changes in the film before its Friday release.


But NCSC Chairman P L Punia had admitted to indiantelevision.com that the NCSC could not go any further than requesting the CBFC to make cuts. It was now up to the Board to take a decision, and ‘we are not going to fight.


He said: "The main theme of the movie is about commercialisation of education followed by several objectionable dialogues against people from backward communities. There is no discussion on reservation in its second half."


 
A nine-member team of the CBFC which included Dalit members had given a U/A certificate to the film without any cuts, but the Commission had summoned CBFC Chairperson Leela Samson and demanded a special screening of the movie.


Bollywood actor Bachchan, who has played a stellar role in the film, has expressed his dismay over the ongoing protests surrounding the film. He said the way creative freedom is being curbed one might be living in a "most unfortunate fascist conditioning."


Bachchan, who has been cautious about his views on reservation, is unhappy with the politics surrounding the movie‘s release tomorrow. He said creative people should get to display their creativity, irrespective of any political pressure.


"An artist, a creative person does not further the cause of politics. He or she furthers the cause of creative expression. If creative expression is to be curbed by institutes that wish to dictate their terms and conditions above the conditions of the legal recognised constitutional formats, democratically accepted and converted into law by the highest authorities of legality, then we might as well accept that we live not in the sanctity of the tenets of democracy but a most unfortunate fascist conditioning," Bachchan wrote on his blog.


Bachchan said it was high time that film fraternity stood up to protect its interests.


"Why doesn‘t the film fraternity of India and more so of Mumbai, have a force or body that stands up and protects its own under attack on occasion from groups that take objection to the very spirit of the freedom of expression, inscribed so prominently and decisively in our revered Constitution," Bachchan said.


"Why whenever we are at the stage of bringing our heads above the cacophony of the world with its myriad issues, to perhaps simply breathe, do forces that seek resentment attempt to strangulate us," he added

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