Gujarat Pogroms Film Faces Censorship Battle

July 21, 2004 | Comments Off on Gujarat Pogroms Film Faces Censorship Battle

Rakesh Sharma’s documentary Final Solution—documenting the right-wing politics of hate in India—is facing stiff opposition by India’s censor board.  Although Sharma has not been able to show his documentary in India publicly because the censor board has not issued him the required certificate, he has won several international awards:

“What has upset the board is the fact that my film is travelling all over the world and bagging awards,” Sharma told HT. “First, I don’t need a clearance, since the board’s jurisdiction is limited to public screenings within the country. Within India, my film has been shown at private screenings only. Second, I had applied for a censor certificate in April this year but the board has refused to constitute a panel to view my film. Instead, it has been sending me showcause notices.”

In a letter, the board asked Sharma “whether the film had the necessary customs clearance before it was taken abroad and whether it had a certificate for screening within the country”. Board chief Anupam Kher said he wasn’t aware of the showcause notices.

“The board is refusing to view my film because it has only three options,” says Sharma. “It can reject, suggest cuts or approve the film. If it exercises the first two options, I will go to court. This is just harassment, nothing else. I have also asked the board if it has issued similar notices to the VHP for their film Ramsevak Amar Raho that was circulated in Gujarat.”

Two other filmmakers have gone to court to protest the censor board’s response to their films on nuclear weapons in India and Pakistan and the 2002 Gujarat pogroms against Muslims.

The Gujarat section of the blog contains more news on the difficulty faced by filmmakers working on communal violence issues in India.


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