Sharmila blames Gujarat police for 'Parzania' no-show

Feb 7, 2007 IANS


New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore has blamed police authorities after "Parzania", a film about communal violence in Gujarat in 2002, could not be released in the state.

"The police have to provide security. They have to take responsibility. It is the responsibility of the police to enforce law and order," she told TV channel NDTV24x7 in an interview.

"Gujarat is an extreme case but even in other parts of India, the police have not provided security. It's only a few people who are intent on creating trouble and they know them," she said.

The multiplex owners in Gujarat have refused to screen Los Angeles-based Indian filmmaker Rahul Dholakia's film fearing vandalism from Hindu rightwing activists.

The film is the real-life story of an Ahmedabad-based Parsi couple who lost their son in the communal violence. The film, which was completed in 2004, was released Jan 27 throughout the country except in Gujarat.

Tagore feels that that government had been too soft on those who threatened to disrupt the screenings of "Parzania".

"They have a lackadaisical attitude," she said.

The veteran actress also spoke at length about other issues like the controversy over the release of Hollywood flick "Da Vinci Code" last year and the ban on smoking in films.

Tagore said Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi's action over "Da Vinci Code" had made the Censor Board "seem a little redundant".

On Dasmunsi's decision to see "Da Vinci Code" before giving it a green signal, she said it was an "avoidable lack of communication" and the minister did not even involve her in the screening he held for Christian groups or in the decision he reached.

Calling Dasmunsi a "super censor", she said he should realise "that there is an organisation like us under him that is doing the job and that is why we are there."

Tagore said she was worried about the precedent that Dasmunsi had set.

"Now if a film is supposed to have hurt Muslim sentiments or Hindu sentiments, they will also come to him and he will find it very difficult to say no to them."

On the controversial issue of banning smoking scenes in films, Tagore said she could "understand where the demand is coming from because smoking is linked to ill-health".

She, however, said no blanket ban was possible because "it is a slippery slope. Next they will say coffee is bad for you."

Tagore said she would oppose any move to interfere with creativity in cinema and declared that she would not agree to censor all smoking scenes.

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