Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Much Ado about Parzania

Poor Rahul Dholakia. He takes the trouble of making a movie about a child who goes missing during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. And then the moral police play spoilsport - by not allowing its release in the state.

The villain of the piece (or at least the one in the public eye) is a guy called Babubhai 'Bajrangi' Patel, head of the local unit of the Hindu nationalist Bajrang Dal. Bajrangi feels the film is biased and could ignite communal passions once again.

Call it moral policing or what you will, a film cleared by India's Censor Board is being held ransom by someone who hasn't even seen it yet. An unabashed Bajrangi claimed on TimesNow last night that Dholakia made 'Parzania' only to mint money.

If they want to find the missing child, let them go to the police. Just by showing the film, will the child be found?
Exhibitors, fearing violence and riots, have decided not to screen the film in Gujarat. Having watched the critically-acclaimed film at its Goa film festival premiere in 2005 and then closely followed the director's attempts to get it released in India, I must say I am disappointed.

But I also know Dholakia won't give up that easily. A fortnight ago, he told me that several NGOs had come forward to help him screen 'Parzania'. The truth will be out some day. But until then, Dara and Rupa Mody's wait for news of their son Azhar is destined to be a long one.

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