Today's Newspaper

Bhandarkar gets protection after Cong’s Indu Sarkar ire

| | Mumbai

After the Congress workers forced Madhur Bhandarkar to cancel the promotional events for Indu Sarkar in Pune and Nagpur a day earlier, the Maharashtra Government on Monday accorded security cover to the filmmaker to ensure against any untoward incident in the run-up to the release of his film which is scheduled to hit the screens on July 28.

“We have provided adequate security cover to the filmmaker,” a senior official of the Mumbai Police said. Set against backdrop of Emergency, Indu Sarkar has characters inspired by late Indira Gandhi and her younger son Sanjay Gandhi. 

Apprehending that the film might portray its leaders in a poor light, the Congress workers have been protesting against the film for nearly a fortnight now. After the local Congress workers forced him to cancel a Press conference that he was scheduled to address at a restaurant in Nagpur during the weekend, Bhandarkar had tweeted on the twitter handle of Rahul Gandhi’s office, “Dear @OfficeOfRG after Pune I have 2 cancel today’s PressCon at Nagpur.Do you approve this hooliganism? Can I have my Freedom of Expression?...

“Congress workers hv barged in the Hotel lobby & created ruckus, me & team are stranded like hostages in hotel room. #pune activity cancelled,” the filmmaker had tweeted.

What has made matters worse for Bhandarkar has been mounting pressure on Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) not to clear Indu Sarkar unless contentious portions in the film are deleted.  

It was Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam who triggered a controversy early this month by shooting off a letter to CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, raising serious concerns about “Indu Sarkar” which, he apprehended, might have shown late Indira and her son Sanjay in a poor light, and demanded that the film shown to the Congress functionaries before it was censored”.

“The trailer of the film says it is a film on Emergency and hence we can see the likes of our beloved leaders like Indira Gandhi ji, Sanjay Gandhiji and senior leaders of Indian National Congress. We therefore want to be certain that our leaders are not shown in bad light and hence would like to see the film before it is censored,” Nirupam stated in his petition to the CBFC chairman.

On its part, the CBFC has suggested 12 cuts and two disclaimers in the film. It has also suggested that words like RSS, Akali, Jayaprakash Narayan, PM, IB and Communist be removed from the film. 

On his part, Bhandarkar has serious reservations about the cuts and removal of words suggested by the CBFC. “Having passed the trailer and promos, the Censor Board asked me to delete as many as 16 scenes from the film. I can’t understand their logic behind this move. I won’t delete those scenes off the film,” Bhandarkar has said.

Upon Nihalani’s advice,  Bhandarkar is contemplating moving the FCAT seeking the retention  of the cuts proposed by CBFC.  

Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh plays the character resembling Sanjay in the film.  Apart from Neil, “Indu Sarkar” features actors like Kirti Kulhari, Supriya Vinod, Anupam Kher and Tota Roy Chaudhary.

Among other things, Bhandarkar  -- who has in the past made films like “Chandni Bar”  and “Fashion” in the past -- has said though it has the backdrop of Emergency era,  his film was “70 per cent fictional”. He has also wondered as to why such a hue and cry is being raised just because he had made a film with the Emergency backdrop. He has also dismissed the Congress’ allegations that being close to the BJP, he was trying to malign the image of the Congress leaders at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre.

“I have known people from people from not just the BJP but all political parties. I have track record of making films on various subjects. Why should kowtow anyone. Why cannot I make a film with the backdrop of Emergency era?,” Bhandarkar has asked.



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