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Prudish Cong’s problem with Jha film: Sex

While the Prakash Jha film Rajneeti has generated a lot of political heat for its alleged depiction of Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s life....

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi |
May 30, 2010 2:50:36 am

While the Prakash Jha film Rajneeti has generated a lot of political heat for its alleged depiction of Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s life,Congress leaders,in their capacity as members of the Censor Board,said they found nothing objectionable about the Nehru-Gandhi family in the film. Thy were objecting to the denigration of “the political class across the board.”

Congress leaders Tom Vadakkan and Pankaj Sharma were part of the six-member Revising Committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for which the film had been screened at Liberty in Mumbai last week. They had the following objections:

n They wanted to reduce love-making scenes featuring Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif. Prakash Jha told The Sunday Express that he had voluntarily agreed before the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal to cut the length of such scenes from 37 seconds to 18 seconds.

n The committee wanted to delete the words “Dadiwale/ Tikawale” to represent Muslim/ Hindu communities; the Tribunal did not find it in violation of the guidelines.

n They wanted deletion of the word “kaum” in reference to Muslim community. According to Jha,Congress members on the committee objected to a dialogue- “hamari kaum hamesha dhokha khati rahi hai.” The Tribunal found nothing objectionable it in.

n As for the objection to the word ‘vidhwa’ in the sentence “le jayegi vidhwa sab samet ke,” the filmmaker agreed to replace it with bitiya.

n The Congress members also objected to a scene where an expert is shown speaking on a news channel on how electronic voting machines (EVMs) could be tampered with. They argued that it questioned the fairness of the poll conducted by the Election Commission of India. Jha,however,stood the ground and was supported by the Tribunal. He told The Sunday Express that only recently a Michigan University scientist had stated that it was possible to plant a chip in the EVM that can alter voting in favour of one candidate. In the dialogue,“satellite se connection bhida ke hamare hi saamne vote badal raha hai,” the Tribunal suggested that it should be replaced by a beep.

n Sources said that Congress members had also objected to the “suggestive” manners of a woman ticket-seeker who comes to meet a politician. Besides, there is another scene involving two men,which,Congress leaders felt,“suggested” homosexuality.

Prakash Jha had appealed to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal against the decision of the Revising Committee to grant A certificate to the film. In its order dated May 25,the Tribunal overruled the Revising Committee’s decision and granted UA certificate to the film,which is scheduled to be released on June 4.

The Tribunal order,a copy of which was obtained by The Sunday Express,stated,“Mr Anil Thomas opined that this film denigrated political class across the board. The film depicts violence and gory sex scenes,which are against rules and Act.” Thomas,who is also associated with the Congress,was the lone dissenter in the four-member Tribunal chaired by Justice (Rtd) Usha Mehra.

Congress sources rebutted the allegations that the film was screened exclusively for party members asserting that it was screened for the entire Revising Committee. Vadakkan,a member of the Censor Board for long,and Pankaj Sharma, who was inducted in it last year,were part of the six-member Revising Committee,which also included Nandini Sardesai,Devyani Khankhoje,Mrinalini Patil,Radhika Borgaokar,and Sanjeev Bhargava.

Sources in the committee said that while the film does have a character (not Katrina who plays the widow of a slain Chief Minister) who comes to India from abroad,there is nothing specific to link any character with Sonia Gandhi. “Except the fact that Katrina is also a female politician,there is no resemblance with Sonia Gandhiji,” said Jha.

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