The Sanjay Dutt-Bipasha Basu starrer,
, is to have its TV premiere on Colours this Sunday. On Thursday, two army officers, Colonel Rajiv Mehrotra and Captain Rahul Soni, moved the Delhi High Court asking for a stay, on the grounds that the film had portrayed the army adversely and a TV screening would only tarnish the image further.
Producer Bunty Walia insists that the army’s image has already been tarnished by countless scams, including the Kargil coffin, the diesel pilferage and the recent rations scam. “If they are unperturbed by reality, why would they object to a film that has a disclaimer at the beginning attesting to the fact that it is a work of fiction?” he argues. “Producers are soft targets and this only points to malafide intentions.”
He adds that the officers themselves violated the Copyright Act and committed a crime punishable under the law by watching a pirated DVD of the film and then making a High Court judge watch it too. The court has referred the two officers to the censor board and issued notices to the board and the channel seeking replies before September 22. So will the Sunday screening happen? “Why not? The film has been passed for theatrical release with an ‘A’ certificate,” Walia retorts. “For TV, you need a ‘U/A’ certificate which would mean a few more cuts. I haven’t been well, but PVR that released the film, must have done the needful.”
Director Rahul Dholakia is amused by the controversy: “I’ve had majors and brigadiers from Kashmir congratulating me on making an honest film and now a captain and colonel are accusing me of bias. Instead of trying to ban my film, shouldn’t they be cleaning up the corruption rampant within the institution?”
He says that outside the army cantonment in Kashmir, there are shops selling army uniforms and khaki material. “Since they couldn’t be making these for the officers inside, who are these for?” he asks.
Dholakia is more concerned about what cuts have been accepted from the censor board. “I hope they haven’t butchered my film; that would be unfair to the viewers. I wish I could have been there to argue my case,” he sighs. He is hopeful that the revising committee will pass the Sunday telecast: “It’s not a criminal case but a matter of judgement. At worst, given the time constraints, the screening could be shifted by a week.”
The channel’s spokesperson says, “Presently, we are not privy to this issue. We will respond accordingly, as and when we receive official communication.”