Gujarat multiplexes say no to 'Parzania'

Feb 6, 2007 IANS


New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) Multiplex owners in Gujarat have refused to show Rahul Dholakia's "Parzania" fearing vandalism from Hindu rightwing activists, but the director says he will now approach single screen theatre owners in the state.

"I am in Gujarat right now. I had a meeting with the multiplex owners today. They have unanimously decided that they will not screen my film," Dholakia told IANS on phone from Ahmedabad.

Dholakia's film is the real life story of a family, which lost their son in the 2002

Gujarat communal riots. The film, which was completed in 2004, had a smooth screening Jan 27 throughout the country, except in Gujarat.

"The multiplex owners gave different kinds of excuses. First, they said I should show it to the Bajrang Dal and get their approval. Then they said if they ran the movie people might vandalise their theatres. Now, the other option with me is to speak to the single theatre owners."

Dholakia says people in Gujarat are living in constant fear. "Are they so insecure that they feel threatened by an English language film?"

"These people are successful Hindu businessmen and if they are so scared of the Bajrang Dal then think about the others. I told them that police were ready to provide protection, but in spite of that they refused to screen the film."

The director is very disturbed about the looming shadow of Hindu rightwing activists in the state.

"They wanted me to include Bajrang Dal members in the meeting but I refused. It's a violation of our democratic rights. This is an insult to India. Here is a state that doesn't recognise the Censor Board. It is an absolutely lawless place."

"It is very important that Gujarat should see the film because the film is about Gujarat, the boy was lost here and his family lives here."

Dholakia denied that he ever agreed to cut down any scene from the film to appease Hindu sentiments.

"I never agreed to cut the scenes. How can I do that? I was told that the Bajrang Dal would see the film and decide what could be shown and what could not be shown. I refused to accept their judgment. They are not the authority."

In the film, Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika play the Parsi couple who get separated from their son, played by child artist Parzun Dastur.

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