Kher files court case against Left leader

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MUMBAI: Following up on his threat to sue CPI (M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet for allegedly describing him as an "RSS man", noted actor and sacked censor board chairman Anupam Kher today filed a criminal complaint in a magistrate's court in Mumbai.



Kher personally appeared in the court along with his lawyer Majeed Memon. The next hearing of the case is on 17 November.



Kher, who was summarily dismissed as chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) last week, took Surjeet to court for writing what he termed a defamatory article in CPM mouthpiece People's Democracy.



Kher has alleged that Surjeet dubbed him an RSS man implementing the Hindutva ideology in the censor board.



Kher, who was appointed by the previous government,

was replaced last Wednesday (13 October) as chairman of the censor board by yesteryear's screen siren Sharmila Tagore.



It was on October 14 that Kher served a notice to Surjeet asking the CPM general secretary to "satisfactorily substantiate the allegation or publicly deny the same within 48 hours".



Kher's protestations notwithstanding, the film fraternity's reactions to his ouster have not all been supportive. Two associations of documentary filmmakers in fact lauded the government's decision to remove Kher.



The strongest criticism of Kher has come from documentary filmmaker Rakesh Sharma. It was under Kher's tenure that Sharma's award winning documentary on the Gujarat riots Final Solution was stalled for months before finally being cleared without cuts two weeks ago.



Sharma in a prepared statement sent from the US had this to say, "I am really upset by the way Anupam Kher is taking credit for clearing my documentary on Gujarat riots and saying that he is being victimised, despite lifting the ban on it. The truth is that we documentary filmmakers were harassed by him for a long time. During a recent film festival in Bangalore, where Final Solution was opening, he sent the police after us."

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