Government today barred therelease of controversial Punjabi film 'Kaum De Heere' on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination tomorrow citing apprehensions of law and order problems in parts of the country.
The decision was taken collectively by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Home Ministry and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) after watching the movie.
"We saw the film and decided that it will not be released tomorrow," CBFC Chairperson Leela Samson announced here after review of the movie on the basis of recommendation by the Home Ministry.
"Because of the law and order situation that might result from the showing of the film and based on the ministry of Home Affairs report, the Home Ministry, the CBFC and I&B officials have decided that," she added.
The Home Ministry had expressed reservation and serious concern over the contents of the film and asked the I&B Ministry to take a relook at the clearance given to it.
In a communication to I&B ministry, the Home Ministry said the film may affect the communal harmony in Punjab and other northern states.Home Ministry told I&B ministry that some of the content in the film was "highly objectionable" and may create enmity between communities and lead to communal tension.
Sources said the film, which is reportedly based on the lives of the assassins of the late prime minister -- Beant Singh, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh -- glorifies their act.
There have been media reports that Censor Board CEO Rakesh Kumar, who was arrested recently by CBI on corruption charges, gave clearance to the film after allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh.
The Punjab units of Congress and BJP have demanded a ban on the controversial film.
The Punjab government heaved a sigh of relief after the union information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry stalled the release of controversial Punjabi film Kaum De Heere, based on the lives of assassins of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The state police were primarily keeping its fingers crossed and had deployed additional force across sensitive towns and cities to ward-off any untoward incident in the run up or after the release of this controversial film having potential to create communal tension.
The state government was expecting that if the movie is released it could be screened in 50-odd theaters of the state. "Accordingly, we had mobilised additional force. We are keeping a close watch in cities like Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Ropar, Amritsar etc," a senior police officer said.
The intelligence wing of the state police had sounded the government well in advance of the likelihood of this movie marring the communal harmony of the border state.
Last year, on the eve of its release the Parkash Singh Badal government had imposed ban on the screening of Sadda Haq, another Punjabi film that glorified the Khalistan movement and its leaders. The government had banned it after senior bureaucrats and police officers saw the movie a day before its scheduled release.
"But this time the government was banking on the centre to take the corrective measures," a government functionary said.
" The film is not banned. The censor board has only withdrawn the certificate to screen it under pressure from political parties. We will move the court and fight for justice" Pradeep Bansal, , producer ' Kaum de heere".
."It's an emotional film based on true facts. Nothing controversial about it" actor Sukhdeep Sukh who plays the character of Indira Gandhi's assassin Satwant Singh in the film.
Even the movie's pre-release publicity had touched a raw nerve in Punjab's political quarters with the Congress seeking ban on its screening. A cagey Parkash Singh Badal government was left looking at the Centre to take a call on sensitive issue.
Commenting on the Centre's decision, the film's producer, Pradeep Bansal, said: "The film has not been banned, only its release has been stalled. Leela Samson, chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, has given me a letter which states that the board has decided to withdraw the censor certificate. We will fight for justice. We know that our film is a balanced and emotional work. There is nothing controversial about it."
Bansal dismissed speculation about bribing censor board CEO Rakesh Kumar for getting the censor certificate earlier.
Welcoming the Centre's move, Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma said the union government had now got time to see what was objectionable in the movie and take corrective measures.
"People of Punjab have paid a huge price to earn peace. There is nothing above the unity and integrity of the country," said Sharma.
Meanwhile, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK said: "In case there was anything objectionable in the movie, it should have been removed. Its release should not have been stalled."
He added that the movie seemed to be a reflection of the events of 1984.
On reports that the film glorified Indira Gandhi's assassins, GK said, "I have not seen the movie, but I feel that such films are an expression of the simmering anger in the Sikh community."
He further said: "Beant Singh and Satwant Singh (Indira's bodyguards) had no criminal background. They were government employees who took the drastic step (assassination) after Indira allowed Operation Bluestar.