Aarakshan: Reservations all the way!

Amritbir Kaur, New Delhi
amritbir80@gmail.com


‘Aarakshan’ released today (12 August, 2011) with the news of a ban on the film in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab. Many other states too are demanding deletion of a few scenes from the film despite the fact that the film has been passed by the Censor board. Prakash Jha, the director of the movie is keeping his reservations in venting out his views on this controversy that clouded the future of the much discussed Amitabh Bachan and Saif Ali Khan starrer, ‘Aarakshan’. Prominent among others are Manoj Bajpayee. and Deepika Padukone. Being banned in the state of Uttar Pradesh alone means a loss of around six to seven crores. UP comes next to Mumbai, that is, a second in the rating of film territories.
The issue that has become the cause of this ban is the long standing one of the most sensitive issues in India, that of reservation on the basis of caste. Appearing in an interview in front of the whole media, Prakash Jha clearly mentioned that he has depicted both points of view regarding this reservation v/s caste issue. He says that he has not favoured any one particular aspect. His wish is that people must watch the movie in the same light without being biased. He says that as the issue of caste based reservation is a sensitive  issue in India, he was cautioned to tone down 'Aarakshan'.
Prakash has knocked the doors of the Supreme Court. In his appeal to the court he has pointed out two main issues: first, he has questioned as to how the state can use its executive power to override the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification to show the movie under the Cinematography Act. Secondly, he has questioned whether his right to freedom of expression can be trampled upon by the state to stop showing a film  just for the sake of supporting a political view. Talking to the reporters he has said, "The film (Aarakshan) simply uses the issue of reservation as the backdrop. The film is not anti-reservation and/or anti-Dalit."
As of n ow there will be no screening of 'Aarakshan' in Punjab. But the Punjab government has given conditional permission for the screening of the movie. It is of the view that the movie contains certain scenes and dialogues that might provoke the public. The government has agreed to permit the screening of 'Aarakshan' if Prakash agrees to remove the objectionable scenes.
Let's wait and watch if you can watch 'Aarakshan'!


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