Intolerance for cinema appears to be worsening. Close on the heels of British director Leslee Udwin's India's Daughter (about the rape and murder of Delhi Braveheart in 2012) being banned by the Indian government, a censor certificate has been refused to a controversial documentary by Callum Macrae, No Fire Zone: In the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka. The UK helmer has released the Sinhalese edition of his documentary which presents the story of the three-decade long ethnic war between Tamils and Sinhalas on the island nation.
The reason given for refusal of certificate is that it may strain relations between the two neighbouring countries.The documentary, though, can be watched online, and the helmer has been encouraging people to even copy/download it.
The film narrates the horrific incidents of the bloody conflict. Thousands of men and women were killed in the war, which was fought by the Tamils under Vellupillai Prabhakaran's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demanding a separate homeland within Sri Lanka. Prabhakaran used all kinds of methods -- including the recruitment of child soldiers -- but he was killed in the end by the Sri Lankan Army.
Macrae's movie in the Sinhalese version is sensational all right and has been timed to coincide with the diplomatic initiatives now being planned by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during his Britain visit, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to the island nation.
Macrae first released his documentary in English in 2009, and it led to a lot of furore then, especially those portions which highlighted the massacre of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan Army. The United Nations has said that 40,000 were killed after the organisation moved out of the conflict zone. With no international observers, Colombo reportedly had a free run.
The latest Sinhalese edition offers new footage. We see the apparent execution of the LTTE television anchor, Isaipriya, along with other cadres of the organisation. The camera then pans to the bullet-ridden body of the woman. The documentary also touches upon the "murder" of Prabhakaran's young son by the Army and the disappearance of hundreds of Tamils.
The moot point here is, bans never work. While hundreds have already watched India's Daughter on different websites, it may not be very long before No Fire Zone goes viral.