Friday, August 12, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Aarakshan ban in two more states

Aarakshan ban in two more states
Saif Ali Khan and Amitabh Bachchan at a promotional for Aarakshan

Aug. 11: Punjab and Andhra Pradesh today stalled the release of
Prakash Jha's Aarakshan, the Friday embargo kicking in a day after
Uttar Pradesh banned the film and an angry Amitabh Bachchan wondered
if India had turned into a "fascist" society.

Both states claimed certain scenes of the movie on caste-based
reservation could hurt backward sections, though Maharashtra's Dalit
and OBC leaders cleared the film after Jha agreed to suggested cuts.

In Bihar, Lalu Prasad's RJD urged chief minister Nitish Kumar to ban
the movie. Yesterday, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned its
release for two months.

In Bengal, though, everything was peaceful, with the film set for
release in 118 theatres. "The Central Board of Film Certification has
passed the film and we are only respecting their directive," said Ajay
Bakliwal, who is distributing the film in the state.

A spokesperson for the Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab said the ban
would remain till a seven-member panel, headed by state home secretary
Samir Kumar, saw the film and submitted a report.

In Congress-ruled Andhra, the decision came after a review by the home
minister, the police chief and the information commissioner, who said
the film had "objectionable" scenes that could hurt Dalits.

Last night, an exasperated Bachchan, who stars in the film, blogged:
"If creative expression is to be curbed by institutes that wish to
dictate their terms… above the conditions of… recognized
constitutional formats… then we might as well accept that we live not
in the sanctity of the tenets of democracy but a most unfortunate
fascist conditioning."

In Mumbai, Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramdas Athavale gave their go-ahead
with conditional cuts. Jha, who addressed a joint media conference
with Athavale, said he had agreed to two cuts. "Now let's move on," he


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