Has banning become integral to filmmaking?

Can we ever get a film released without a controversy? Close on the heels of the furor over releasing Da Vinci Code, now the screening of Imsai Arasan has been barred in Karnataka.
There is a king called Pulikesi who ruled Karnataka in the 8th century. Activists (it’s not clear of what organisation) have threatened to agitate in front of theatres screening the film with Vadivelu in the lead as they feel that the king is being portrayed in a derogatory manner.

The activists couldn’t be more wrong. Vadivelu plays a Tamil king – I think a Chola king – from the 18th century and not the 8th century. Apart from this, can’t we in India make fun of anything? Doesn’t anybody have a sense of humour or irony or tolerance anymore?
First the state put a ban on Da Vinci Code fearing communal unrest. Because a book and a movie based on a book said Jesus had a girlfriend who also wrote a gospel. And that he had sex and the bloodline continues to this day.
A few months back the doctor community didn’t want Vasool Raja MBBS because it portrayed them in a bad light. And the Tamil Protection Movement, in which Ramadoss’s PMK and Thirumavalan’s DPI are a part, doesn’t want English names for Tamil movies.
The Thevars don’t much like Virumandi.
If Harry Potter falls in love with Hermione in Rowling’s upcoming tome, then people would protest over that too? Whatever happened to the artist’s and the community’s right to freedom of expression?
Another favourite gripe is that there is too much sex on the screen. For years nobody kissed in Indian cinema. Did that reduce the population or what? Soon ( or is it already?) nobody can smoke on screen. What if somebody was playing Churchill? Even if the state bans smoking on screen, is smoking going to reduce?
It’s time we gave ourselves a break and grew up and be adults. If there is too much sex or violence, do show it to the kids. If you don’t want to watch Da Vinci Code, just don’t buy the ticket. We really can’t go on like this. Protesting over somebody who lived and died in presumed happiness in the eighth century is plain stupid.

3 Comments so far

  1. Kunal (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 3:41 am

    The good people of Karnatak don’t make any decent movies. They ban it when other people make them.

    Growing up – that’s never gonna happen because there’s an inherent flaw somewhere.

  2. Naveen (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 12:00 pm

    Mr. Kunal,
    The banning happened because of a few chauvinists and because the Kannada film industry was going through a really rough phase. Not that I am condoning it, but am just putting across the other side of the coin.
    Maybe Kannada movies from 90’s onwards have not been good. But nowadays, there have been really good movies that have attracted huge crowds who had earlier been reticient to watch Kannada movies.
    There are very few places in India that screen movies from atleast 6 languages. So please don’t crassly generalize to say that Kannadigas, especially from Bangalore, are chauvinistic.

  3. Nandhu (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

    We in Chennai have no doubt at all that Bangalore is a very tolerant place in general and Kannadigas are not chauvinistic.
    but the ban on Imsai Arasan is still indefensible as is the banning of other Tamil films in Chennai itself in the past.

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