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Aarakshan ban in two more states

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By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 12.08.11
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Aug. 11: Punjab and Andhra Pradesh today stalled the release of Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan, the Friday embargo kicking in a day after Uttar Pradesh banned the film and an angry Amitabh Bachchan wondered if India had turned into a “fascist” society.

Both states claimed certain scenes of the movie on caste-based reservation could hurt backward sections, though Maharashtra’s Dalit and OBC leaders cleared the film after Jha agreed to suggested cuts.

In Bihar, Lalu Prasad’s RJD urged chief minister Nitish Kumar to ban the movie. Yesterday, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned its release for two months.

In Bengal, though, everything was peaceful, with the film set for release in 118 theatres. “The Central Board of Film Certification has passed the film and we are only respecting their directive,” said Ajay Bakliwal, who is distributing the film in the state.

A spokesperson for the Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab said the ban would remain till a seven-member panel, headed by state home secretary Samir Kumar, saw the film and submitted a report.

In Congress-ruled Andhra, the decision came after a review by the home minister, the police chief and the information commissioner, who said the film had “objectionable” scenes that could hurt Dalits.

Last night, an exasperated Bachchan, who stars in the film, blogged: “If creative expression is to be curbed by institutes that wish to dictate their terms… above the conditions of… recognized constitutional formats… then we might as well accept that we live not in the sanctity of the tenets of democracy but a most unfortunate fascist conditioning.”

In Mumbai, Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramdas Athavale gave their go-ahead with conditional cuts. Jha, who addressed a joint media conference with Athavale, said he had agreed to two cuts. “Now let’s move on,” he said.