Kahani Gudiya Ki being released despite protests

NEW DELHI: The makers of Kahani Gudiya Ki, based on the true story of the young Muslim woman whose first husband had come back after she had re-married under the presumption that he was dead, have said they will go ahead with the release of the film despite the threats they have been receiving from various quarters.

Prabhakar Shukla, debutante director of the film which had been screened at the Ninth Osian‘s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in Delhi in July last year, told that he had already received a ‘U‘ certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification and there was no reason for not releasing the film.

The film is first releasing in some territories and will avoid Meerut, Mumbai and Delhi. Depending on the response to the film, it may be released in the rest of the country next week.

The case had become headlines when Zee News in September 2004 aired the story of the young Gudiya whose first husband Mohammed Arif returned after being released as a Prisoner of War by Pakistan. By that time, she was married to Taufeeq and was in the eighth month of pregnancy. A village panchayat of Muslim clerics – telecast live by the news channel – ruled that she must go back to her first husband, leaving her second husband in shock.

Now more than three years later, Gudiya who lived in a village in Meerut district, is dead and neither of her two husbands – both re-married – wants to accept responsibility for the child, Shukla said.

The film stars actor Divya Dutta in the title role, with Rajpal Yadav, Seema Biswas, Arif Zakaria, and Akhilendra Mishra. It has music by Vivek Prakash, and had been choreographed by Saroj Khan. It had been shot in Mumbai and in Nago Thane village near the metropolis.

Shukla had conceived the film soon after he read about the case in 2004, and had even obtained Gudiya‘s written permission to make a film on her life. But he had to re-shoot the last portion again a few months earlier after she died. He had now not only raised the question of what she had gone through, but also about the fate of the child who is living with Gudiya‘s mother. "The issue therefore is one of human values and not merely the story of one woman," Shukla said.

He said he was aware that a Muslim organization had held demonstrations at Janatar Mantar earlier this month and also given a memorandum to the Information and Broadcasting ministry seeking a ban on the film. He said he had also read news reports that Arif, the first husband, had filed a case against him charging him with making the film illegally. But he had not received any notice. In any case, he had in his possession Gudiya‘s written permission and also a recording of her interview with him. Even her father had given his consent.

After receiving threatening phone calls, he had filed an FIR in the Oshiwara Police Station in Mumbai.He had also sought police protection for the theatres where the film is released. The film had also been sold for overseas distribution.

Asked if he had taken liberties with the story, he said changes had only been made for cinematic effect ‘close to reality‘, but he had stuck to the original story.

He said Divya Datta and the other cast members had immediately agreed to act in the film when he approached them, and ghazal king Jagjit Singh had sung three ghazals in the film.

Shukla has made more then 275 commercials and has made two music videos for Crescendo Music. His next film is a comedy Main Tension Mein Hoon.

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