Friday, August 12, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Prakash Jha blinks, ready to make cuts in Aarakshan

Prakash Jha blinks, ready to make cuts in Aarakshan

Headlines Today Bureau | New Delhi, August 11, 2011 | Updated 11:14 IST
The makers of Aarakshan have agreed to minor changes in the movie to
satify demands of pro-Dalit groups. This was decided after director
Prakash Jha met Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athavale
to clear the air about the film, which has been described as
anti-Dalit by the groups opposed to it.

Jha, flanked by Athavale, addressed a press meet in Mumbai and said
that his film has now been cleared by groups, which were earlier
opposed to it. He promised that the changes in the movie will keep the
sensibilities of all sections in mind. This comes after the UP and
Punjab governments put a ban on release of Aarakshan.

"We are ready for changes to address hurt feelings. We are ready for
minor cuts as per objections raised," Jha told reporters on Thursday.

Now a day ahead of the release of the film, security has been
tightened at the residence of Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan in
Mumbai. Security was stepped up at the houses of Bachchan and Khan as
a precautionary measure after the attack on Jha's house and office.

Punjab, UP ban film
Earlier, trouble for Aarakshan grew. After the National Commission for
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on Wednesday called for cuts,
the Punjab government came out and put a hold on the release of the
film in the state a day after Uttar Pradesh banned it.

The Punjab government has imposed a ban on the screening of the movie,
which is based on reservation, till a screening committee previews it
and submits its report.

The screening committee will meet later on Thursday to view the film
and submit its report on Friday. The seven-member panel comprises two
vice-chancellors, two senior IAS officers, two backward caste leaders
and a government representative.

According to an official spokesman, the Punjab government took this
decision after receiving Intelligence Reports that the movie has
certain scenes and dialogues, which may upset some communities in the

The Mayawati government banned the release of the controversial film
in Uttar Pradesh for two months on the grounds it would create law and
order problem in the state.

A decision to ban the film, which is due to hit the screens on Friday,
was taken late on Wednesday night following a recommendation by a
high-level official committee set up by the BSP government.

The committee comprising principal secretaries of finance,
information, higher education and rural development departments and an
official of entertainment tax committee had watched the film and
submitted their report to the state government.

The official committee felt that its screening would create law and
order problem in UP due to alleged objectionable dialogue in the film.
The committee was of the view that the film's dialogues could create
hatred in the society.

SC/ST panel's plea
Meanwhile, SC/ST panel chairperson P.L. Punia said on Thursday, "We
have seen the film. Few dialogues are very objectionable. We have
communicated to the Censor Board to get these portions deleted. Now we
have no role and it is for the board to decide."

Punia on Wednesday had 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 tension. "Aarakshan has failed. It is likely to create
communal tension," Punia said on Wednesday.

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."

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

Besides Bachchan and Khan, the film also stars Deepika Padukone, Manoj
Bajpayee and Prateik Babbar.

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