Contrary to claims by the Army that permissions were taken and granted for shooting a film by wives of senior officers, including the Army chief’s wife, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee stated that the ministry had not given clearance to any such proposal.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha, the minister said that a proposal was received seeking Army assistance for the proposed film but was declined by the Ministry.
In the issue dated June 12, the Hindustan Times had revealed that the Army Chief’s wife, Anupama Singh, was acting in a film being produced by Director General Military Intelligence D Summanwar’s wife, Sharayu Phalke.
Sumanwar’s daughter Arti was in the lead with Kunal Mehta, whose father is a Major General.
The film is based on a book Sharayu authored when her husband was posted in Kargil.
While security clearances for shooting are under the purview of Military Intelligence, the Ministry in its reply stated: “A proposal was received from M/s India Connect Pune seeking Army assistance for its proposed film Shaurya. Army assistance for shooting of films/TV serials is provided as per Army Order 12/88 to such of the films/TV serial as have the potential to enhance the image of the Armed forces subject to payment of charges as per laid down rates and completion of other formalities. However, in case of film Shaurya the proposal has not been agreed to by the Ministry of Defence”.
Though the Ministry in its reply stated that no public money has been spent for this purpose, there was a move to rope in the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) at the time of the release. Singh, incidentally, heads AWWA in her capacity as the Army Chief’s wife.
Summanwar had, on her part, earlier told HT that the film was being produced at a “shoe string budget” with support from family and friends.
Unconfirmed sources aver that a vigilance enquiry has been ordered and some senior officers have got the rap for bending over backwards for facilitating the shooting and rolling out a red carpet for the high profile production team.