An open-air screening of Anand Patwardhan’s film ‘Father, Son, and Holy War’ near Delhi University’s North Campus was shut down by police after receiving complaints that an “anti-national” film was being screened.
The film screening had been organised by the students’ collective Pinjra Tod and had taken place in Hudson Lane, an area where a large number of Delhi Univeristy students live.
According to Pinjra Tod members, the screening started around 6:30 pm.
“We had set up a projector and speakers. Around 30 people were watching the film, and there were people in the shops nearby as well. There were around 3-4 men who were walking around nearby and we could see that they made several calls. Around 7:15 pm, police personnel arrived and told us that they received complaints that we were screening a deshdrohi film,” claimed Devangana Kalita, a member of Pinjra Tod.
Members of the collective alleged that police shut down nearby shops, cutting off electricity supply for the screening.
Videos circulated on social media show a heated exchange between police and a group of women.
“We continued the screening on a laptop. We had informed police at the Mukherjee Nagar station a few days in advance that we would be doing this screening,” claimed Kalita.
When contacted, Additional DCP (northwest) A K Lal denied the allegations. “We received a call from a local that some documentary on religious clashes was being screened. We went, saw what was happening and returned without stopping the screening,” Lal said.
‘Father, Son, and Holy War’ is a 1994 film made in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition, which explores the links between toxic masculinity, nationalism and religious violence. According to Pinjra Tod, they had chosen to screen the film on the eve of Republic Day to question “a right-wing imagination of the nation, that’s both exclusionary and violent”.