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‘The movie is not stuck, the makers are’: CBFC member Vivek Agnihotri explains how The Wire twisted facts around ‘No fathers in Kashmir’

The fact of the matter is that the CBFC has already given the movie a go-ahead for release but with an A certification. The director of the movie seems to have chosen to obfuscate and spread canards because he wanted a U/A certification for his movie and not an A certification.

The movie industry has seen some interesting movies being released recently. Movies like Uri: The surgical strike and The Accidental Prime Minister saw the Left cabal scampering for cover. The rhetoric against the movies was at its shrillest when the Left deemed necessary to come out with their own narrative. It is no surprise that the movie ‘No Fathers In Kashmir’ has been embroiled in controversies because that is the only way they promote their agenda.

There are several such movies like Udta Punjab where an impending flop was promoted by creating a controversy around it. The movie was a culmination of several bouts of abuses and elaborate scenes of substance abuse. The movie was released right before the Punjab elections and soon after the elections, all the chatter around substance abuse in Punjab disappeared. It seems the leftists have found the latest candidate to further their propaganda in the movie ‘No Fathers In Kashmir’.

Leftist propaganda website, The Wire, in a story, headlined “This Film on Kashmir Sought CBFC Clearance 6 Months Ago – and Is Still Waiting” asserted that while the censor board, CBFC, has claimed that it has accorded the movie ‘No fathers in Kashmir’ with an A certification, the director of the movie claims that the CBFC has, in essence, banned the movie. The Wire story read, “The film, according to Kumar, has “no gore, no violence, no sex, no nudity, no abusive language, no substance abuse”. He was looking forward to a “U/A” (parental guidance for children below the age of 12) certificate, which would have made it eligible for a TV release”. 

Essentially, the Director claims that the movie deserved to be released with a U/A certificate because there was no violence or abusive language in the movie and hence, there should have been no cuts. It also insinuates that the CBFC was deliberately delaying the release of the movie. However, if one goes by what Vivek Agnihotri said, this seems far from the truth.

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OpIndia, after much debate on Twitter between several people and Vivek Agnihotri, who is the Chairman of the revision committee the movie was referred to, reached out to Agnihotri to understand what trouble was the movie running into.

Vivek said that the movie has substantial Jihadi propaganda and anti-Army, anti-India rhetoric and several people throughout the certification of the movie wanted several cuts. Vivek, however, took a liberal view by overriding most of the objections, save one. Vivek Agnihotri said that the movie had several statistics like the number of women who were raped in Kashmir, the number of went who went missing etc, all with the insinuation that the Indian Army was responsible for the indiscriminate torture of Kashmiris. One of the “statistics” mentioned in the movie was something to the effect of 100,000 people going missing from Kashmir in the longest war the world has seen. It made unsubstantiated and wild assertions like the lives claimed have been far more than the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Agnihotri says that he was of the opinion that he wouldn’t even have to remove that if only he could provide an authentic source for the data they had used in the movie. This, he said, the team of the movie did not comply with.

This is the only modification that the revision committee has asked the film director to make for its release. They have to remove the statistics or provide authentic sources for the numbers and facts claimed. Agnihotri says that only if the director was willing to comply with this one modification, he could release the movie today with the A certification.

Agnihotri said that if the director wanted, he could release the movie even tonight with the A certification. However, when the representative of the movie wanted a U/A certificate. Agnihotri explained that the movie had extremely abusive language, gore and violence and hence, according to the movie an A certification was justified. When the actor present at the discussion raised an objection, Agnihotri asked him to justify why he might want his younger brother to watch a movie with the kind of abuses and violence that this movie had. According to Agnihotri, he had no logical answer to that question either.

It is obvious that a movie that is based on the Kashmir violence will have material which would not be suitable for children and hence, the A certification, logically, makes perfect sense.

Essentially, it does appear that the filmmaker being stubborn is the main issue here. If only he was willing to provide proof of the statistics displayed in the movie, he could have released the movie immediately with the A certification. His insistence of U/A certificate also seems to make little sense and terming the A certification as good as a ban on the movie makes no sense at all.

Amidst all this, on 24th January 2019, a journalist from the leftist propaganda website, The Wire, reached out to Agnihotri claiming that he wanted to do a follow-up story on the matter. The journalist said that he wanted to do a story on the previous Wire story that Agnihotri thought was ‘fake news’. Vivek Agnihotri says that when the journalist called him up for his version, Ahnohotri told him categorically that he should run his statement verbatim without twisting his words. To that, Vivek claims, the journalist said that he couldn’t do that since it was his story. Agnihotri then told The Wire journalist that he could take whatever line of argument in his article, but since the committee represents the Government of India, his quote cannot be twisted.

Surprisingly, The Wire journalist took a strange line. He said that he would then have to confirm (whether he can run Vivek Agnihotri’s statement verbatim) with his editor. One has to wonder why a journalist has to confirm with his Editor whether a direct quote can be printed without twists and changes, verbatim. However, because of this editorial roadblock, the ‘follow-up’ story by The Wire has not been published or explored yet.

It would appear that the movie makers and the entire leftist ecosystem is drumming up the rhetoric of “freedom of speech being curtailed” where no such thing exists. The left basically wants the freedom to twist facts to suit their narrative and especially in a sensitive issue like the Kashmir conflict, it could prove extremely detrimental.

Essentially, according to left cabal, the movie needs the freedom to twist facts around Kashmir and its supporters need the freedom to twist Vivek’s statement.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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