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The Centre on Thursday stopped the release of a controversial Punjabi-language film on the assassination on Indira Gandhi, a day ahead of its release across north India.
The information and broadcasting ministry’s 'no' to releasing the film ‘Kaum de Heere’ – translating into ‘diamonds of the community’ – came after the home ministry objected to the movie saying that it may affect communal harmony in Punjab and other northern states.
The film revolves around the assassination of the former prime minister on October 31, 1984, by two Sikh bodyguards.
The home ministry felt that some of the content in the film was “highly objectionable” and may create enmity between communities and lead to communal tension.
There were 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 had also demanded a ban on the controversial film.
However, the film’s producer Pardeep Bansal had defended the film, saying said it was based on true incidents, as per the findings of the Justice Thakkar Commission which had probed the assassination of Gandhi.
“It is a completely balanced film wherein no religion or
sect has been belittled. Some people are unnecessarily trying to create a controversy without watching the movie,” he said.
The censor board passed the film with an ‘A’ certificate
and was scheduled to be released on Friday in more than 100 cinema halls in north India.
Gandhi was shot dead by her two bodyguards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, at her official residence in New Delhi.
While Beant Singh was shot dead immediately after by other guards, Satwant Singh and an accomplice Kehar Singh were later hanged.
The writer-director Ravinder Ravi had also dismissed the apprehensions and said the film “just portrays the life and emotions of the assassins of Indira Gandhi and has nothing to do with (slain Khalistan leader) Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale or Operation Bluestar”.
“The motive is to tell the audience the actual chain of events and give biographical accounts of Satwant Singh, Beant Singh and Kehar Singh,” he added.
Actor Sukhdeep Sukh -- who is portraying the character of Satwant Singh – expressed surprised over the “unnecessary controversies being raised by political outfits over such an emotional and balanced film.”
On Thursday, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said the film “glorified” the assassins of Indira Gandhi and should be placed in the category of restricted viewing, if at all, by the government.