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A Tale of Two Movies - varnamvarnam
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A Tale of Two Movies

Aamir Khan recently came out with a statement that people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam should be rehabilitated.

“The BJP is saying I’m against the dam and against Gujarat but I’m not against the dam. What I’m saying is that the people who have been affected by the dam should be rehabilitated,” Aamir said late on Friday, during an interview with the a television news channel. [I’m neither against Narmada dam nor Gujarat: Aamir]

He also came out against the Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the recent violence in Vadodara and the riots few years back.

it is (Vadodara incident) very sad and what happened in Gujarat a few years ago was also equally unfortunate. It’s a shame that the administration is not able to control the situation there and it is resulting in deaths of innocent people,’ according to a BBC transcript of the interview.[Aamir Khan slams Narendra Modi]

All these statements did not go well with some Gujaratis. The BJP threatened to disrupt the screening of the movie in the country. Members of a student wing of Congress Party staged a demonstration and burned posters of Aamir’s latest film Fanaa, smashed bottles of a soft drink endorsed by the actor and urged people to boycott all products promoted by the actor.The Cinematograph Exhibitors Association of Gujarat has decided not to show the movie unless Aamir Khan apologizes for his remarks.

This “mob censorship” in a state ruled by the BJP was enough to get all the familiar secularists all worked up. Shabana Azmi heard only about the protests by the BJP activists and not by the Congress and she got all worked up. Mahesh Bhatt, approached the Supreme Court asking for police protection in those movie halls, which was willing to show the movie.

There is another state sponsored censorship going on in India. The Da Vinci Code, which was cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification was banned in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Coming out in support of Aamir Khan, this is what Shabana had to say

It is the State’s business to ensure that those citizens who wish to see the film should have the freedom to do so. No political party has the right to jeopardise a film that has been duly cleared by the central board of film certification”.[Shabana Azmi, in defence of Aamir Khan]

For her, these priciples do not apply in the Da Vinci case. When political parties are dictating that a vast majority cannot see a movie assuming that a miniscule minority could be offended, such defenders of “free speech” are nowhere to be seen. People who got so angry over the so called “state sponsored violence” in Gujarat are silent when the state is supressing a movie elsewhere. These are the real communalists we should be careful of.


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