District authorities on Sunday categorically denied having imposed any “ban” on the controversial film ‘Aligarh’, based on the life of an AMU professor who was sacked on charges of homosexuality, even as the city mayor strongly opposed the screening of the biopic.
“We have no knowledge whatsoever on this matter and no cinema owner has contacted us for seeking any sort of security for exhibiting this movie,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) J Ravindra Gaur said when asked about media reports that the movie has been banned in the district.
However, the strongest opposition to the movie has come from BJP Mayor Shakuntla Bharti, who has announced that she would meet the district authorities on Mondy to seek an official ban on the movie. “This movie is against our culture. It is against the syncretic Ganga Jamuni culture of this city. It will bring a bad name to our city,” she told reporters.
Bharti said, “I would not have objected if the movie had been given some other name but we cannot accept such bad publicity for our city”. Meanwhile, two AMU professors, including film critic Asim Siddiqui who saw the film on February 26, said the cinema owners might have themselves stopped the screening due to poor public response.
“There were only a handful of people watching the movie that (Friday) evening. In all probability the owners of the theatre have stopped showing the movie on their own and have used the reported threats as a ruse,” Siddiqui said.
Notably, the Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC), which has a number of former AMU students, had written to Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley seeking a ban on the film.
When contacted AMU Vice Chancellor Lt Gen (retd) Zamiruddin Shah said, “I am against the very idea of banning a movie just because a small section finds something objectionable. This only gives it unnecessary publicity.”
Shah said he had not seen the film and hence had no idea of its contents. MBMC Secretary Jasim Mohammad said his organisation was opposed to the biopic because “it has distorted facts”.
Manoj Bajpayee starrer Aligarh, which has received wide acclaim, is based on the life of AMU professor Ramchandra Siras who was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation. He later committed suicide.