Thursday, August 11, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Aarakshan is anti-Dalit, says SC/ST panel chief

Aarakshan is anti-Dalit, says SC/ST panel chief

Headlines Today Bureau | New Delhi, August 10, 2011 | Updated 15:27 IST
Prakash Jha's Aarakshan has run into trouble once again with chairman
of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
P.L. Punia showing the red flag to it. Punia has objected to some
dialogues in the film, which he found anti-Dalit.

Punia, who watched the film on Tuesday evening, said that while he
appreciated the role of Amitabh Bachchan in the movie as he portrayed
reservation in a good way, he found some dialogues demeaning towards

"We watched the preview yesterday. The film does give out a good
signal on the issue of reservation, if we look at the role of Amitabh
Bachchan," Punia said on Wednesday, adding, "But it is more on the
commercialisation of education. The conflict is based on caste and on
previous rulings of the Supreme Court. Those are objectionable. Some
dialogues say that Dalits can now go back to polishing shoes and that
they don't bathe and are unhygienic."

Punia has asked for a detailed investigation by the Censor Board,
demanding a revision of the dialogues that are anti-Dalit. He also
said in its current form, the film is likely to create communal

"Aarakshan has failed. It is likely to create communal tension," Punia added.

However, the Censor Board says it is not bound by law to listen to the
SC/ST panel chairman, saying after the Bombay HC vacated the stay,
Aarakshan could be released in theatres.

Chairperson of the Censor Board Leela Samson has said, "The HC's
judgement is very clear. This is the victory of freedom of speech and
of every Indian and I am not against the SC community. In fact, I am
sympathetic towards their cause and I understand Mr Punia's worries."

Meanwhile, Maharashtra PWD minster Chhagan Bhujbal has given the film
a thumbs up. Bhujbal said that Jha had agreed to make changes in the
objectionable portions of the film.

Bhujbal's organisation Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad had earlier
demanded a ban on the film. However, after watching the film Bhujbal
has suggested changes, which Jha has agreed to.

The film has been in the middle of controversies for several weeks
before its release. While some believe that the film is anti-Dalit,
others feel it might create unrest because of the sensitive issues it
deals with.

The Bombay High Court vacated a stay on the film on Tuesday. The
Madras High court too vacated the stay it had imposed over non-payment
of dues. The film is set for release this Friday.

The film has been passed by the Censor Board with a U/A certificate.
The certificate was awarded after an examining committee, set up with
representatives from the Dalit, OBC, SC and ST community, reviewed the

Speaking to Headlines Today, Jha had said earlier, "My film has all
mandatory clearances. I'm responsible enough. My judgements should be

The film also stars Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee
and Prateik Babbar.

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