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Reality cinema in peril again
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
It looks like headlines don't augur well for movie screenings. After Rahul Dholakia's 'Parzania' was stopped by rightwing activists in Gujarat, two other reality-based films have faced strange ban orders.
Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Traffic Signal' has been banned in Himachal Pradesh for apparently using a word 'kinner' that's derogatory to eunuchs.
And Anurag Kashyap's hard-hitting 'Black Friday' was supposed to be the inaugural film at a film festival organised in Patna recently. But that never happened and Kashyap is clueless as to why.
According to sources, the government feared communal repercussions if Kashyap's film, on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, was shown in Bihar.
Bhandarkar makes a shocking revelation about his film.
'Kinner, the word that I've supposedly used for eunuchs, isn't there in the film! Nobody refers to the eunuchs in my film as kinners. And yet I've received a notification from the Himachal government telling me my film cannot be screened there because it is likely to cause a breach of peace. Why? We had set aside seven prints for the state. For a small budget film this is a big loss.'
What could have triggered this inexplicable ban?
'I don't know,' Bhandarkar told IANS. 'Maybe one of my actors was heard using the word 'kinner' on television. I don't think it's a derogatory word. I think this intolerance is engendering a new kind of fear on filmmakers, especially realistic directors like me or Anurag. We can't be doing truthful films if we've to be careful of every word we use.'
Dholakia is still fighting to have 'Parzania', the real life story of a boy who went missing in the 2002 sectarian violence in Gujarat, released in the state.
Said Dholakia: 'When I got through the Indian censor board, I thought my hurdles to seeing 'Parzania' released were over. I didn't know other censors were waiting around the corner.'