As the world, specifically Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, celebrates the Palm d'Or victory at Cannes of French auteur Jacques Audiard's movie, Dheepan, India's Central Board of Film Certification has refused an exhibition certificate to a Tamil movie, Porkalathil Oru Poo.
K Ganeshan's Porkalathil Oru Poo (A Flower in Times of War) centres on the tragic story of television journalist Isaipriya -- who was reportedly captured by the Sri Lankan army and killed. Sadly, a few months later, the 30-year-old strife between the Sri Lankan Government and rebels, led by Vellupillai Prabhakaran's Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam fighting for a separate homeland, ended. Isaipriya was unlucky to have been 'caught' at the wrong time.
The board said that Porkalathil Oru Poo could not be cleared because the movie could strain relations between Colombo and New Delhi.
Ganeshan was upset with this decision and wondered whether India had lost the right to criticise. Incidentally, Tamil Nadu has passed a unanimous resolution in the Assembly not to consider Sri Lanka as a friendly nation.
Cinema has been a prime victim of this decision, and this has led to several films not being allowed to screen in Tamil Nadu. Inman, Madras Cafe and With You Without You are some of the recent movies that were stopped from playing in the state by student or political groups. Mind you, these films were duly certified by the board.
What is more, these movies were certainly not anti-Tamil or even pro-Sri Lanka. For instance, Prasanna Vithanage's With You Without You is a lyrical work about how an-ex Sri Lankan soldier tries to assuage feelings by marrying a Tamil girl. A film like this will go a long way in helping to heal the deep wounds caused by the bloody war on the island.
In such a scenario, will Dheepan -- about a former Tamil Tiger, who migrates to France with a woman and girl impersonating as his wife and daughter -- in mainly the Tamil language be allowed to screen in Tamil Nadu? Dheepan is a brilliant work about how three strangers come together to pick up pieces of their lives in France, and move away from even the memory of the torturous days they had to endure during the war.