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Film with Modi look-alike falls foul of censors
By Deepshikha Ghosh, IANS
A Hindi film romance set against the backdrop of the 2002 Gujarat violence has fallen foul of the censors and is unlikely to ever make it to the screen.
The film "Chand Bujh Gaya" was rejected by the Central Board of Film Certification, commonly known as the censor board, on account of the uncanny resemblance of the main villain -- a morally challenged, violence- perpetrating chief minister -- to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Starring celebrated star Aamir Khan's brother Faisal and a host of unrecognisable actors and directed by Sharique Minhaj, the 2-hour-20-minute movie with the regulation song-and-dance routines failed to make it past even the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, where the filmmakers appealed the decision.
The filmmaker has decided to move court, but members of the tribunal say they are confident it will make no difference.
"The entire film is an aberration. It is not a love story but a depiction of gory bloodshed and is communally volatile," Rakesh Sinha, a member of the tribunal, told IANS.
"This movie will cause public disharmony, strife between the two communities (Hindu and Muslim)."
But Sinha's main objection was the depiction of the Modi look-alike chief minister.
"He is shown as a devil, fuelling the violence and encouraging people to kill each other. It is an implicit attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS - the powerful mentor of the Hindu nationalist fraternity including BJP.)"
The objection was reflected in the tribunal's order, which noted the "definite resemblance" to real life personalities.
The film is based on the love story of a Hindu boy and Muslim girl on the Sabarmati Express that earned infamy when the torching of 59 Hindus in its coaches sparked retaliatory violence across Gujarat, claiming mostly Muslims lives and property.
"When you make a film, you have to see the sensitivity of society and the political ramifications. These are not casual subjects," said Sinha.
The secretary of the tribunal, V.K. Sharma, said the film had scenes of extreme violence and bloodshed which were unfit to be shown to general audience.
Another film that has loosely drawn from the Gujarat violence is "Dev" though the characters are all fictional and do not bear any tantalising resemblance to real people or events.