IFFI: Filmmaker peeved at Censor Board cuts

Panaji:A short film, based on the hero of Indian national movement Bhagat Singh, is likely to be dropped from screening at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) by its director as it ran into trouble with the Censor Board for the `anti national` contents.

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), has suggested nine cuts in `Inklab`, a short film by Chandigarh-based filmmaker Gaurav Chhabra, saying its contents are anti-national. Chhabra has defended his portrayal and has refused to budge.

The short film, inspired by the landmark Assembly bombing by Bhagat Singh in 1929, was part of the Short Film Centre and was short-listed by the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) to be showcased at IFFI 2011. When contacted, the ESG officials said they were told by the filmmaker that "he might drop the film due to censor board issues".

Chhabra, quoting his communication with the CBFC, has said that the board has refused him certificate saying the film violates section 5 B of the Cinematographic Act 1952. The section bars a movie with visuals or words promoting communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national sentiments. Chhabra said the CBFC letter has come as a "rude shock" for him.

"Film (Inklab) is a direct result of my personal learning in the field of social-activism over last five years…and it advocates the use Constitutional tools like right to information, freedom of speech, peaceful protests among others for bringing about a holistic social change in society," the 32-year-old doctor-turned-filmmaker and activist said.

The film which was screened at many film festivals in the country was shot at historic Dwaarka Das Library relocated to Chandigarh post partition from Lahore, where Bhagat Singh used to spend time reading books on Russian, Irish revolutions and socialism, Chhabra said. Dubbing the CBFC suggestions as "uncalled for" and "invalid," the director said "the cuts prescribed by the CBFC chop off selectively the talks about corruption in contemporary politics".

These talks represent average discussions on contemporary news among today`s youth. Chopping such scenes is only in the interest of "corrupt politicians" and not in interest of "politics" and "public in general", he said.

`Inklab` produced little before anti-graft movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare gathered steam, focuses on the fact that even today the youth are fighting for their rights all around the world and voice of poor is still being oppressed. Chhabra`s earlier films on environment and health have won global awards in 2007 and 2010.

Inklab is submitted to around 36 film festivals across the globe and has been selected in all the three prominent festivals, namely the International Film Festival of Ahmedabad, the IFFI, Goa and the Third Eye Asian Film Festival, Mumbai.