The regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in Kerala has denied the permission of screening to Malayalam film ‘Varthamanam’, which is set in the backdrop of students’ protest held in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi earlier this year.
Directed by filmmaker Sidhartha Siva, the movie narrates the journey of a Keralite woman, being played by actress Parvathy Thiruvoth, who goes to the JNU campus in New Delhi from Kozhikode to research on a freedom fighter.
As per the film’s producer and scriptwriter Aryadan Shoukath, the CBFC officials did not cite any reason for their rejection. He added that the movie will be submitted before the Censor Board revising committee in Mumbai for certification this week.
“The CBFC officials here just informed us that the film has to be submitted to the revising committee. We still do not know why the movie is denied the certification,” Shoukath, who is also a Congress leader, told news agency PTI.
Shoukath, the award-winning scriptwriter, said he spent several days in New Delhi before writing the script in order to understand the culture and lifestyle in JNU campus.
“We cannot send the movie for any award this time if we do not get the Censor Board clearance before December 31,” said Shoukath.
He further suspected that the Censor Board’s denial was on the basis of political grounds. In a bid to support his suspicion, Shoukath cited a recent tweet posted by a censor board member, who is also the state vice president of SC Morcha of the BJP.
“Adv V Sandeep Kumar, a censor board member, recently tweeted that the permission was denied as Aryadan Shoukath was its scriptwriter and producer. Nowadays, the Censor Board has several political appointees who have no basic knowledge of cinema,” he said.
Shoukath had recently shared the screenshot of Sandeep Kumar’s controversial tweet on his Facebook page.
Notably, Sandeep Kumar had removed the tweet later. “As a member of the Censor Board, I saw the movie Varthamanam. The theme was the persecution of Muslims and Dalits in the JNU agitation. I opposed it. Because Arydan Shoukath was its scriptwriter and producer. Of course, the theme of the film was anti-national,” read the tweet.
In January 2020, violence was witnessed at the JNU campus after masked men (armed with sticks and rods) attacked teachers and students protesting against the fee hike and vandalised property on the campus. In response, the JNU administration had called in the police which carried out a flag march.
In his Facebook post, Shoukath asked how a movie could be labelled as anti-national if it talks about the students’ agitation in Delhi campus or the democratic movements across the country.
“We are still living in India which is a democratic, secular and socialist country. Is it based on the clan and race of the scriptwriter that a film is given a nod for screening? The undeclared emergency situation in the cultural sector cannot be accepted,” read the FB post.
Source: Times Now