The Censor Board today told Delhi High Court that Bollywood movie 31st October, based on the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, was certified for release after deletion of all offensive scenes.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) made the submission before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal which is hearing a PIL opposing release of the film claiming that it is against the ideology of the “oldest political party of the country”.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984. Petitioner Ajay Katara’s lawyer told the court that a 55-second video clipping of the film has been released online and it shows an actor, having a close resemblance to an existing political figure, inciting violence.
Katara has not named the political figure in his plea. The bench asked Katara’s lawyer whether there have been any “instances” of violence after the release of the video clipping and trailers and also whether anyone else has expressed views similar to that of the petitioner.
To this, the lawyer said no. After hearing arguments of both sides the bench said it will pass orders and reserved its verdict. During the brief hearing, CBFC’s lawyer told the bench that the film, starring Soha Ali Khan and Vir Das in the lead, had come to it for certification in July last year and the Board had asked the producers to delete several scenes.
The Board said that the movie, which is scheduled to be released on October 21, has been certified for public viewing after the deletions, as ordered by CBFC, were made.
As the Censor Board gave the clearance for release of the politically controversial film 31st October to Delhi High Court after deletion of some objectionable scenes, lead actor Vir Das voiced happiness at the decision.
“It would be really unreasonable to stop the film’s release. I am happy that the film is releasing. One can criticize a film only after watching it completely. A film involves not only us but also a unit of 400 people. Before creating any controversy, one should consider the bigger picture. I am happy that the government body is standing by us to release the film,” Das told IANS.
Vir Das, known for his comedy roles, plays the lead character Davinder Singh in the film, based on the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Sharing his experience, Das says, “It is the story of a father who protects his family from the riots. If in real life, I would be able to become at least 50 percent of him(Davinder Singh) as a protector-father, I would feel like a good human being. Internalizing the character of Davinder Singh changed me as a person.”
The film based on a true story in the backdrop of the anti-Sikh riots is written and produced by Harry Sachdeva and directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil.
Asked if his political views influenced his performance in the film, Das says, “I had to blindfold myself from my political opinion. If you watch the film, you would understand that it is a human story, where all the action of Davinder Singh is for survival in a turmoil situation, where his individual political decision does not matter. So I played the character from the humanitarian perspective, that has nothing to do with my political views.”
Sharing his outdoor experience, Das says, “We were shooting in a small village, outside Ludhiana. Every day we would get an invitation from the villagers for lunch, dinner, snacks etc. Sharing bread and mingling with them helped to get the nuances of the character right, whether the authentic Punjabi dialect or body language. It was a fulfilling experience.”