After JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans at a meeting to mark the anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s execution, Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi told reporters in Delhi “Kanhaiya Kumar had joined the meeting in the campus where anti-national slogans were raised. He also raised these slogans.” Kumar’s arrest has triggered outrage among students and teachers and has drawn severe criticism from non-BJP political parties.
Since the government has declared the recent JNU students’ protests as ‘sedition’, we take a look at films that, by the same definition, could be categorised as seditious:
1. Rang De Basanti
This one was clearly one of the boldest entries from mainstream cinema: The Aamir Khan-starrer had the protagonists killing the defence minister as they held him responsible for the death of an army pilot. Sharmila Tagore asked the then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee who had told Aamir, “ My job is to protect the country, not to certify films.”
2. Raanjhanaa (2013 )
Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol played JNU students active in campus politics in this film by Anand L Rai. While the movie was mainly a love story, it did have references to student groups protesting against the establishment.
3. Chakravyuh (2012)
Prakash Jha’s political war film traced the war against Naxals, and to some extent, how the loopholes in our system could make one turn to Naxalism. The song Mehengai was one of the most hard-hitting ones in recent times, which attacked everyone from the government to businessmen and politicians. ‘Birla ho ya Tata Ambani ho Bata, sabne apne chakkar mein desh ko kaata.’
4. Main Azaad Hoon (1989)
Our angry young man, Amitabh Bachchan, represented the youth irritated with the shackles of the Indian system in the film. His slogans were all against the state, ruling government and the rules and presumptions in practice.
5. Shaurya (2008)
One of the most famous sequences in the film, the climatic monologue by Kay Kay Menon, attacks not only the state but also the concept of democracy. In Menon’s character, Samar Khan’s film targeted the authoritarian dictator mindset.
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