Uttarakhand govt rejects ‘Kedarnath’ director’s request to lift ban
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Uttarakhand govt rejects ‘Kedarnath’ director’s request to lift ban

“The story of the film ‘Kedarnath’ is communally provocative and may create tension between communities. We are now initiating steps to have the title of the film changed as the name of the revered shrine can’t be allowed to be misused.”

india Updated: Dec 10, 2018 08:45 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Kedarnath,Kedarnath ban,ban on film
Hindu Seva Parishad activists stage a protest against the film 'Kedarnath' at a mall, in Jabalpur, Friday(PTI)

The state government on Sunday rejected director Abhishek Kapoor’s request for lifting a ban on his recently released film ‘Kedarnath’, stating the movie shot in the shrine town and its surrounding areas is “communally provocative”.

“The story of the film ‘Kedarnath’ is communally provocative and may create tension between communities. We are now initiating steps to have the title of the film changed as the name of the revered shrine can’t be allowed to be misused,” said tourism minister Satpal Maharaj.

He was reacting to Kapoor’s request that the Uttarakhand government lift the ban on his film. The filmmaker in a tweet said, “I plead with the Uttarakhand government to pls (please) lift the ban on my film#Kedarnath.”

Kapoor further added that his film was “an attempt to bring peace, harmony and healing to the people of this country. Pls (please) don’t deprive us of this opportunity.”

Read the movie review of Kedarnath

Maharaj, however, asserted that the ban “can’t be lifted on the film because it not only hurts religious sentiments (of the Hindus) but its hero and heroine are also shown romancing in the spiritual background” of the shrine.

“Such scenes that were shot in the backdrop of the shrine are objectionable have hurt the religious sentiments of crores of people across the country,” the minister said.

Actors Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan are in the main lead of the feature film.

Watch Sara Ali Khan’s interview

Kedarnath’s Teerth Purohits (priests), who had strongly objected to the release of the film days after its teaser was released in November, supported the government’s move to ban ‘Kedarnath.’

“Their (state government) decision to ban the film is absolutely justified because it plays with the religious sentiments of the Hindus and also promotes ‘Love Jihad’,” said Vinod Shukla, Chairman, Kedar Sabha, an organisaiton of the priests based in the shrine town of Kedarnath.

The term ‘love Jihad’ denotes alleged campaigns under which Muslim men target the non-Muslim women for conversion.

Tourism minister Maharaj, who recently watched the film preview said it “also shows” the hero, a Muslim boy running away with its heroine, a Brahmin girl, which is not fair.

“Do such incidents happen in Kedarnath where there are no Muslims? (Otherwise also) that’s not our (hill) culture,” he said.

Maharaj said: “We will also approach the central government to block viewing of the film through the Internet,” he said. “Before such a step will be taken all its legal aspects are being examined.”

Meanwhile, the state head of the BJP’s media relations department, Ajendra Ajay, took a jibe at the director, saying there “are a number of filmmakers like you, who share your mindset and attack the religious faith (of the people) by making fun of Hindu gods and goddesses through their films”.

In a tweet, he also asked Kapoor to “change the trend and not to take undue advantage of the large-heartedness of the Hindu community”.

Maharaj, however, denied the media reports suggesting that the move to ban ‘Kedarnath’ would discourage filmmakers from shooting their films in Uttarakhand.

“They are being provided all facilities to shoot their films with an aim to promote film tourism in the picturesque mountain state but we can’t allow them to show love affairs in our temples,” the minister said.

First Published: Dec 10, 2018 08:17 IST