The Censor Board of India recently banned Rakesh Sharma's internationally-acclaimed documentary, Final Solution, for these reasons:
The film promotes communal disharmony among Hindu and Muslim groups and presents the picture of Gujarat riots in a way that it may arouse the communal feelings and clashes among Hindu Muslim groups. It attacks on the basic concept of our Republic i.e. National Integrity and Unity. Certain dialogues involve defamation of individuals or body of individuals. Entire picturisation is highly provocative and may trigger off unrest and communal violence. State security is jeopardized and public order is endangered if this film is shown. It violates guidelines 2(xiii), 2(xiv), 2(xvii) and 3(i). When it is judged in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact, it is not advisable to be exhibited. Hence refused under Section 5(b) 1 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.An online petition has been created by Anand Patwardhan to protest against the ban, and ask the Central Government to intervene and revoke it (which the Government is empowered to do).
We find the observations made by the Indian Censor Board to be deeply disturbing. We are appalled to note that the Censor Board preview panel has several members affiliated with the right-wing political party who do not hesitate to use their official position to suppress any film critical of their politics. We would like to express our protest against the ban on Final Solution as well as the attempts to harass the film-maker through show-cause notices querying the participation of his film in international film festivals and demanding explanations about customs duties etc, matters clearly outside the Censor Board’s jurisdiction. We are gravely concerned about the strong-arm tactics being used by right-wing cadres to thwart public screenings of the film even in film festivals like Films for Freedom at Bangalore on July 29, 2004.A little about the film:
The right to freedom of expression and the right to information are central to any healthy and vibrant democracy. We urge you to take immediate steps to arrange for the speedy release of Final Solution without cuts. Final Solution is itself a strong plea against the politics of intolerance and hate and we are perturbed to find it become a victim of political intolerance.
Final Solution is a study of the politics of hate.
Set in Gujarat during the period Feb/March 2002 - July 2003, the film graphically documents the changing face of right-wing politics in India through a study of the 2002 genocide of Moslems in Gujarat. The film documents the Assembly elections held in Gujarat in late 2002 and records in detail the exploitation of the Godhra incident (in which 58 Hindus were burnt alive) by the right-wing propaganda machinery for electoral gains. It studies the situation after the storm and its impact on Hindus and Moslems – ghettoisation in cities and villages, segregation in schools, the call for economic boycott of Moslems and continuing acts of violence more than a year after the carnage.
Final Solution is anti-hate/ violence as “ those who forget history are condemned to relive it.
Wolfgang Staudte award and Special Jury Award (Netpac), Berlin International film festival.
Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Documentary, HongKong International film festival.
Silver Dhow ( Best Doc category), Zanzibar International film festival
Special Jury Mention, Munich Dokfest.
Special Award instituted and given by NRIs for a Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI), NY-NJ, USA.
Berlinale ( International premiere; Feb 2004), HongKong, Fribourg, 3 continents filmfest (South Africa), Hot Docs (Canada), Vancouver, Zanzibar, Durban, Commonwealth film festival (UK), One world filmfest (Prague), Voces Contra el Silencio (Mexico), Istanbul 1001fest, Singapore, Flanders (Belgium), World Social Forum (Mumbai; Indian premiere), Vikalp (Mumbai filmfest organised by Campaign against Censorship), Films for Freedom, Bangalore and several other filmfests.
[Thanks for the link, Rohit Gupta, Apollo Bunder Comics]