ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ban on Films: Break the Silence

The Gujarat government has not banned the film Parzania, which is based on the poignant and true story of a Parsi family in Ahmedabad that was caught in the communal pogrom of 2002. The same Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Narendra Modi did not ban Aamir Khan’s films Fanaa or Rang De Basanti last year either. It is just that Modi’s government has nurtured an atmosphere in the state that encourages fundamentalists to intimidate and dictate terms to anyone who does not toe their line.

Last year, Aamir Khan earned their wrath for speaking about the plight of those displaced but not rehabilitated by the Narmada dam and later for criticising the Modi government over the Vadodara communal clashes that claimed six lives. Overnight, the film actor was declared to be “anti-Gujarat”; Rang De Basanti had to be pulled out of theatres and Fanaa could not even be released. When the Supreme Court was petitioned in June last year to order the state government to ensure security to theatre owners, the court said that it cannot intervene and that it was up to the theatre owners to seek protection from the government. Of course, the theatre owners knew better and preferred not to show Fanaa at all. Again, the state governments of Punjab, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu banned the film based on Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code because they feared a few Christian groups who claimed it portrayed Jesus Christ in an unconventional light. The Andhra Pradesh High Court not only quashed the ban but also ordered the state government to pay the costs of litigation to the petitioner.

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