The producer of Kamal Swaroop’s documentary “Battle for Banaras” today said the “delay” in censor board communicating the reason behind its refusal to clear their film was both “unwanted and unprecedented.”
The documentary, which was shot over a 44-day schedule in Banaras during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was officially invited for screening at the 17th Jio Mami Mumbai Film Festival but the invitation was withdrawn in the absence of clarity on the censor certificate.
“This lack of clarity and communication from the censor board is irresponsible,” Manu Kumaran, the producer of the film, said in a statement.
“We will fight this unjust ruling of the censor board. But this can happen if instead of talking to the media, they officially issue a letter stating the reasons for for rejection. This delay tactic by the censor is both unwanted and unprecedented,” Kumaran added.
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The producer said the censor board chief Pahalaj Nihalani has not officially communicated the reason for the rejection of the film even though they had screened the movie to the board on August 27.
Director Swaroop said that the documentary was not political and talks about all the 40 candidates who were in fray for the Lok Sabha elections last year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from Varanasi.
“It is an attempt to understand the crowd phenomenon, anthropologically, without getting into voter politics,” Swaroop said, pointing out that people are talking not just about Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi in the film but also about 40 other candidates across political parties.
“Of course, the main face-off is between Modi and Kejriwal…”
Inspired by Nobel laureate Elias Canetti’s book, ‘Crowds and Power’, the documentary captures the excitement, the madness and the noise behind the high-octane poll battle in the holy city of Banaras.
Kumaran said the film documented what happened in the general elections.
“We contest each and every claim made by Mr Nihalani in the media. The film is neither pro Kejriwal or against any politician. It is not a political satire. Kamal Swaroop has only documented what happened in the general election,” said Kumaran.