Board Bans 'Final Solution'
By Kalpana Sharma
06 August, 2004
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to pass Rakesh
Sharma's award-winning film on the Gujarat violence. Final Solution,
the three-and-a-half hour documentary, was rejected by the Board on
the grounds that it "promotes communal disharmony among Hindu and
Muslim groups and presents the picture of Gujarat riots in a way that
it may arouse communal feelings and clashes among Hindu Muslim groups."
The letter from
the CBFC also said that the film "attacks the basic concept of
our Republic i.e. National Integrity and Unity. Certain dialogues involve
defamation of individuals or body of individuals. Entire picturisation
is highly provocative and may trigger off unrest and communal violence.
State security is jeopardised and public order is endangered if this
film is shown.... When it is judged in its entirety from the point of
view of its overall impact, it is not advisable to be exhibited. Hence
refused under Section 5(b) 1 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952."
Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Sharma said: "There is no shock or
surprise at this decision. But I thought they would be more clever in
the way they rejected it."
According to him
the Board had `violated' many censorship rules, including time limit
and procedural matters. He said he planned to explore legal remedies
as "I don't expect a free and fair hearing from within the CBFC."
Since it was released
in February this year, the film has been shown at a number of international
film festivals and has won several awards including the Wolfgang Staudte
award at the Berlin International film festival, the Humanitarian Award
for Outstanding Documentary at the Hong Kong International Film Festival
and the Silver Dhow at the Zanzibar Film Festival. The film is due for
commercial release in Germany next month.
`Rules are rules'
The Regional Officer at the CBFC in Mumbai, V. K. Singla, suggested
that Mr. Sharma had many levels of appeal within the Censor Board, which
he can use. "Rules are rules," he said and films have to go
through the process of certification before being screened in public.
"But if a person
feels he can show his film everywhere and get awards, then why does
he need a certificate?" he asked. Although he has not seen the
film, he said that the Board adhered to guidelines laid down under the
A committee of four
people, "including a Muslim gentleman", viewed Rakesh Sharma's
film, he said. Asked on what basis the viewing committee was selected,
Mr. Singla said that this depended on the availability of members of
the Board. "I know people are not happy," he said. "But
what can we do. Sometimes we are termed liberal, sometimes very harsh."
Mr. Sharma complained
that the Board saw his film on a day when he was not available to answer
questions by the screening committee. Mr. Singla countered that a filmmaker's
convenience cannot determine the timing of a screening. "We have
so many films to review. We cannot keep them pending."
Mr. Sharma, however,
has complained, in particular, about the manner in which his film was
In a letter to the
CBFC Chairman, Anupam Kher, he has said that the preview panel managed
to see his three-and-a-half-hour film and reach a decision to ban it
in less than three hours.