Lucknow/New Delhi, August 11: The Mayawati government banned the release of Prakash Jha's controversial Hindi film ‘Aarakshan'(Reservation) in Uttar Pradesh for two months on the grounds it would create law and order problem in the state.
A decision to ban the film which is due to hit the screens on Friday was taken following a recommendation by a high level official committee set up by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government.
The committee comprising Principal secretaries of Finance, Information, Higher Education and Rural Development departments and an official of Entertainment tax commttee had watched the Amitabh Bachchan-Saif Ali Khan starrer and submitted their report to the state government this evening.
Hours before the UP government imposed the ban, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes asked the Censor Board to make necessary changes in the film before its release, objecting to the “derogatory way” the backward community has been featured in it.
The move by the Commission came after its members watched a special screening in Delhi. “The main theme of the movie is about commercialisation of education followed by several objectionable dialogues against people from backward communities. There is no discussion on reservation in its second half. We have asked the Censor Board to make necessary changes in it,” NCSC Chairman P L Punia told PTI in Delhi.
Senior Maharashtra minister and OBC leader Chaggan Bhujbal also voiced objections to certain scenes and dialogues in the film. “Some scenes and dialogues in the film are objectionable and the film can be released after deleting them,” Bhujbal said after a special screening of the film was arranged by Jha in Mumbai.
After watching the movie, the official committee felt that its screening would create law and order problem in UP due to alleged objectionable dialogue in the film. “The State exercising its power under the Clause 6 (1)of state films regulation act has banned screening of the film for two months,” said a senior official in Lucknow.
The committee was of the view that the film's dialogues could create hatred in the society. Also, the highly charged dialogues of the characters in the film could create an adverse reaction in the society.
In New Delhi, Punia said the film needs some major revisions and its release should be deferred keeping in mind the sensibilities of the backward communities in the country, Punia said. “The makers of this movie have made a mockery of the judgements passed by courts and decisions taken by government by using objectionable dialogues such as ‘Aarakshan hamara janamsiddh khairat hai and 50 per cent mein kya hoga, ab 100 per cent quota le jao',” Punia said.
Asked if the movie is released without recommended cuts, he said, “We have requested them to make the cuts, our job ends here. We are not going to fight. Being a Constitutional body it was our responsibility and under Article 338, it comes in our purview.”
A nine-member team of the Censor Board had given a U/A certificate to the film without any cuts. The high level panel of the UP government said that various characters in the film gave views in favour of and against the reservation provided to SC/ST and backward classes under the Constitution, according to an official in Lucknow.
Justifying the state government's decision banning the film, the official said protests were being held by a number of organisations across the country due to the controversy surrounding it.