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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Censor board delays screening of controversial Punjabi film

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times  LUDHIANA, March 04, 2014
First Published: 23:52 IST(4/3/2014) | Last Updated: 23:55 IST(4/3/2014)

The Central Board of Film Certification has put on hold the screening of a controversial Punjabi film, 'Kaum De Heere', which eulogises the assassins of late prime minister Indira Gandhi, after a member of the censor board, Amarjit Singh Tikka from Ludhiana objected to its contents.

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The movie was scheduled for March 14 release but after reading its storyline in a vernacular newspaper, Tikka immediately approached censor board chairperson Leela Samson, requesting her to ban its screening.

After getting the complaint, Samsun watched the screenplay and raised objections to various scenes and songs and instructed the film maker to delete these. The fate of the film produced and directed by Raj Kakra will be decided after the next review and till then it will not be screened.

"The content of the movie is provoking and aims at exploiting the sentiments of the Sikh community, which could disturb law and order in Punjab. More shocking being the fact that the film was deliberately scheduled for a release when the parliamentary elections are round the corner, which points to foul play on the part of some political parties and their supporters," Tikka said.

The story of Punjabi Film 'Kaum De Heere' revolves around Satwant Singh and Beant Singh who assassinated Indira Gandhi. Both the characters have been portrayed as heroes while the late Indian prime minister has been dubbed as a villain, thereby justifying the action of the assassins.

If sources are to be believed, the movie has been funded by radical groups operating overseas.

At the same time, some part of the movie was shot on the premises of the Golden Temple, the Sikh shrine, which brings the role of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) under scanner. However, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar denied having given permission for a film shoot on the premises of the Golden Temple. "The scenes must have been taken from old documentaries as we do not allow film shooting on the Golden Temple complex," Makkar said.

On the other hand, for taking up the matter Tikka has been termed the "traitor" of the Sikh community and is being targeted by Sikh radical groups on social media.

However, Tikka is undeterred and says, "Being true Sikhs, we should promote the principles of Sikhism and Punjabi film makers should highlight the problems of drug addiction and corruption. Similarly, there should be screenplays on the life and ideology of Kartar Singh Sarabha, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev, the actual gems of the community."

Despite repeated attempts, film director-producer Raj Kakra and Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Leela Samson were not available for a comment.

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