Udta Punjab may have won its battle against the censor board, but two Gujarati films based on last year’s Patidar agitation and its jailed leader Hardik Patel are battling to escape its scissors.
The Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) has recommended as many as 100 cuts in Salagto Sawal: Anamat (Reservation: A Burning Question), a movie that highlights the “ill-effects” of caste-based reservations. The board also wants the makers of the movie to drop the words “Patel” and “Patidar”.
Apprehending similar trouble, the producer of another film “Power of Patidar” has invited chief minister Anandiben Patel and minister of state for home Rajanikant Patel along with opposition leader Shankersinh Vaghela to a private screening of the movie.
“If they accept our request, we will show them our film at their place at their convenient time. If they suggest any valid changes, we will be carrying out those and thereafter go for the CBFC certification”, Deeepak Soni, the maker of “Power of Patidar,” says.
Last year’s stir by the influential Patidars caused months-long upheaval and resulted in several deaths. Agitating Patel leaders want reservations for the community, saying caste-based reservations put them at a disadvantage.
Their leader Hardik Patel is in jail after being charged with sedition among other offences. The Gujarat government had also attempted to mollify the community by announcing 10 percent reservations for economically backward classes that included Patels.
But tensions are continuing to run high and on Wednesday, the chief minister faced a hostile reception in Hardik’s home town of Viramgam during an official visit. Sloganeering by Hardik supporters forced her to delay her address. The ruling BJP’s poor-showing in the countryside in elections to local bodies last December is partly ascribed to growing disenchantment of the Patels with the current government.
The censor board is reported to have also objected to the “close resemblance” of the main protagonist of Salagto Sawal:Anamat with Hardik Patel.
The film’s director has petitioned the board for a review of its decision and is hopeful of a quick resolution.“By Monday, we will get an answer from CBFC, hopefully a positive one,” says Rajesh Gohil.
Makers of “Power of Patidar” also foresee censor trouble. According to Soni, several leaders of the Patel agitation have acted in his film and are featured in its songs. “Our film is the story of Harkik, the quota agitation and where the agitators went wrong. There is nothing in the film that will spark off a controversy or ignite the Patel agitation once again,” he insists.
“We will wait till Tuesday for the responses and then apply for the certification process” said Mahesh Patel, the director of “Power of Patidar”.
The Patel stir is also the theme of a third movie made in Hindi: Humme Haq Chahiya – Haq Se.”
“Our film is on the present system of education and employment and doing away with the quota system. The shooting of the film is over and now the editing process is on. It will be ready by July-end” says Himmat Ladumore, the producer.
Whether the censor board agrees remains to be seen.