Indian Censors Hold Up
06 October, 2004
Indo-Asian News Service
NEW DELHI - Film activists in the Indian capital have strongly
protested the country's censors holding up release of the award-winning
documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11".
9/11", vehemently anti-US President George W. Bush, won the Palme
Ór best film award at Cannes this year. It can be downloaded
off the Net and its pirated copies are available across the country.
board takes these senseless decisions because as a body it is irrelevant
and completely behind times," said Shuddhabrata Sengupta at Sarai,
the media and research foundation.
board itself should be done away with," Sengupta, a researcher
on issues of censorship, told IANS.
The Michael Moore
film, which has become a pillar of the Democratic presidential campaign,
was supposed to be released in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Pune on
But the film, which
has been running in the US for more than three months, has now been
sent to a revising committee.
"It is silly
that a film that is running without a hitch in the US, whose president
it portrays in so negative a light, is having problems in India,"
are being offered on why the censors are worried about the film. One
of them is to avoid offending the American authorities.
But experts say
if that's the reason, scores of Bollywood movies that show neighbouring
Pakistan as archenemy should never have been released.
"If the censors
are so worried about keeping good ties with all countries, how come
they never react when Pakistan is abused and Pakistanis shown as villains
by Bollywood films?" reasoned documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy.
Roy was part of
a team of filmmakers who organised a major festival against censorship
last month, which had Booker award-winning author and activist Arundhati
Roy as a speaker.
Filmmakers in India
have for long protested against the censor board and the Films for Freedom,
a platform of over 300 independent documentary and short filmmakers,
are campaigning for abolition of censorship.
"I don't really
understand what the censors are trying to do," said Sengupta. "If
they are trying to stop people from watching the film, that's not possible.
himself has said that people should download it from all sources and
watch it. Basically, this sort of immature behaviour must stop."