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Sanju trailer: Toilet scene sparks off debate

The scene in the trailer of Sanjay Dutt biopic where the protagonist is seen inside a jail cell where a toilet leak floods the cell has prompted prison, activist Prithvi Mhaske to file complaint with CBFC for showcasing prisons in a negative light. Filmmakers defend the film.

bollywood Updated: Jun 14, 2018 15:52 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
Yerawada Jail,Sanju,Sanjay Dutt
The scene from the trailer of the film Sanju.

The trailer of the Sanjay Dutt biopic, starring Ranbir Kapoor, has become a talking point for several reasons, among which is a toilet scene that has ruffled some feathers. The scene shows the protagonist inside a jail cell, which is flooded with sewage from an overflowing toilet. The footage has reportedly prompted prison activist Prithvi Mhaske to file a complaint with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for showcasing prisons in a negative light.

Mhaske reportedly wrote a letter to Censor Board Chief, Prasoon Joshi, stating that, “As per the information available, the government and jail authorities are taking good care of all the barracks of the jails. We have never heard of any such incidents. This particular scene will make a bad impression about jails and jail authorities.”

The issue has sparked off a debate, with prison reformists agreeing with Mhaske’s objection, while film experts arguing in favour of the film’s makers. Vartika Nanda, a prison reformist, says, “There is no dedicated squad to clean prisons, and the inmates have to clean their cells themselves. But the toilet leakage scene (in the trailer) is an extreme case. The makers are trying to show the prisons in a negative light. Even in the ‘anda cell’, the conditions are not like how it has been shown.”

During his incarceration, Dutt spent some time in the high-security anda cell (egg-shaped cell) in Mumbai’s Arthur Jail. Later, he was shifted to Yerawada Jail in Pune.

Nanda says she has visited both the Yerawada Jail and the cell where Dutt was confined. “The condition at Yerawada Jail is much better than many other jails in the country. The place is clean and hygienic. Also, I have spoken to the inmates in all the places where the actor has spent time; no one came up with this issue.”

Monica Dhawan, director of the NGO India Vision Foundation, which works for the welfare of prisoners, says the film exaggerates the condition. “If it is Yerawada, the scene depicts something impossible. The prison cells are visited by session court judges, human right activists, lawyers, too.”

Filmmakers and experts have come out strongly in defence of the film. Film producer and trade expert Amul Vikas Mohan says, “Of course, things are always shown in films in a way to dramatise and add shock value. People opposing this particular scene clearly don’t have any sense of creative freedom and only know how to get offended. Makers of the film would have done their research well before including this scene in the trailer and then you can’t really tell if it happened or didn’t happen. Maybe this was one off incident that happened when Sanjay Dutt was in the prison.”

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta says, “The complaint is a reflection of the complainant’s mind, which is full of s***. We should not give importance to such people...Ignore such people.” CBFC board member Vani Tripathi Tikoo, meanwhile, says she has read about the letter online, and that the board will “take a call only after seeing the full film.” “A trailer of few minutes can’t be a deciding factor,” she adds that if there are considerable issues, the film will go back to the revision panel.

Interact with the author Ruchika Garg @ruchikagarg271

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 15:52 IST