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Censor glare on Rajneeti

May 21: The supposed resemblance of Katrina Kaif’s character to Sonia Gandhi is the least of Rajneeti director Prakash Jha’s headaches.

The film, due for release on June 4, is in danger of getting stuck with the censor board over other “problems”, prompting Jha to threaten moving the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

Sources said the majority of censor board members felt there were four problem areas: denunciation of electronic voting machines (EVMs), derogatory references to women in politics, explicit anti-Muslim dialogues, and intimate scenes and excessive violence.

Most of the controversial parts, of course, are dialogues mouthed by certain characters without any suggestion that the filmmakers share their views.

Although most board members are ready to grant the film an A certificate, the filmmakers are insisting on a U/A certificate but are prepared to dilute only some of the steamy scenes.

Some members of the Central Board of Film Certification, however, want the suggestion that voting machines can be manipulated by the ruling party to be deleted altogether, along with “corrections” made to what they see as anti-Muslim and anti-women content.

Parts of the film apparently suggest that women have to sleep their way up in politics, and that surrendering to the leader’s lust is the only way they can get a ticket to contest an election.

The issue provoked heated discussion in the censor board, the sources said, with some members arguing that sexual exploitation of women was, after all, not uncommon in politics. They said a filmmaker’s freedom of expression could not be curtailed just because his movie conveyed a negative impression of political leaders.

Other members, though, felt these scenes could not be allowed at a time many women leaders were dominating the political landscape and an attempt was being made to reserve 33 per cent seats for the gender in legislatures.

These members want the “anti-women” content “corrected” before the film can be released, whether with A or U/A certification.

Many members also found the dialogues about the Muslim community crude and prejudiced.

The slur on voting machines was debated the most, with one side arguing a film that is being hyped over its political content should not sow suspicion in people’s minds about the electoral process.

Others, however, said there could not be a problem with raising questions about the voting machines. They cited how L.K. Advani had queried the credibility of the machines and how the BJP had formally approached the poll panel on the subject.

All the members agreed on one point: there were no similarities between the lead character and Sonia.

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