UTTARAKHAND government Friday banned screening of the film Kedarnath citing possible disruption of law and order. Following objections from several Hindu groups and BJP leaders, Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat had formed a committee headed by state Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj to decide whether the film could be screened in theatres in Uttarakhand. “We watched the film yesterday and decided that though there must be no ban on any work of art, law and order situation too has to be taken into consideration,” Maharaj said.
Based on the committee’s feedback, the Chief Minister ordered all 13 district magistrates to review law and order situation in their areas and take a call on whether or not to screen the movie. “We don’t want a breach of law and order. We want tranquility, and that’s why district magistrates decided to ban the film’s screening,” Maharaj said.
After the film’s trailer released, several Hindu groups had been demanding that the film be banned as it allegedly promoted “love jihad” and “hurt” Hindu sentiments. “Kedarnath is one of the most revered shrines in the country, so we respect sentiments of all groups that objected to the film,” Maharaj said. “My personal objection is also over the name Kedarnath. People visit the shrine to attain moksha (liberation), so the film should not have been named after a place of such purity.”
“Aap ‘Qayamat aur Pyar’ iska naam rakhte toh aur acha hota (It would have been better if the film was named ‘Qayamat aur Pyar’),” he said.
District magistrates of Nainital, Dehradun, Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar, Almora, Pauri Garhwal, and Tehri Garhwal districts have banned screening of the film, ADG (law & order) Ashok Kumar said. The other districts, including Rudraprayag where Kedarnath was shot, do not have operational cinema halls.
“When filmmakers approach us, they don’t tell us about the exact script and their hidden agenda. We will make strong laws so that in future there is no distortion of facts with regards to our religious places,” Maharaj said.
Kedarnath, starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan, released on Friday. It depicts the love story between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man that has been weaved against the backdrop of the Kedarnath flash floods of June 2013 that killed over 4,000 people.