Indian movie director faces death threats over new film
Back in 1992, Hindu fanatics numbering 150,000 demolished the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya because the site was considered by some be Ram Janmabhoomi, the actual birthplace of the god Rama. The demolition resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people.
The incident inspired Indian movie director Sunil Singh, above, to make a movie called Games of Ayodhya, due for release on December 8 – and zealots now want him dead.
His home in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, was vandalised by right-wing Hindu activists on Sunday and Yogesh Varshney, city president of Hindu Jagran Manch in Aligarh said that they would not allow the movie, which narrates a love story between a Hindu man and a Muslim woman in Ayodhya at the time of Babri Masjid demolition, to be released in the city. He said:
Today we have blackened the wall of Singh’s house. If he doesn’t back down, we will kill him.
Singh, who is also the National President of the Lok Dal political party expressed shock at the incident.
The people who did this are self-proclaimed arbiters of religion. Police should have prevented them from committing these acts. If the Censor Board has approved the movie, who are they to stop its release? They are threatening to kill me and set fire to my house, and police has been keeping mum.
Singh claimed that the movie is based on truth and there are no distortions in it, as being claimed by some.
These so-called Hintutva activists are not ready to accept the truth, but people need to know the truth behind the events.
Singh added that he was trying to get the movie screened at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) before its release in theatres and he was in touch with university authorities.
The purpose behind screening the movie at AMU is to clarify to the other community that there is nothing against them in the movie.
However, university authorities claimed that they were not aware of any plans for screening the movie in the campus and maintained that they would not allow it.
Singh said the film was shot in Faizabad, Ayodhya, Lucknow and Mumbai. It was completed in January.
The film was denied certificate in January by the Central Board of Film Certification. I then moved the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal against this decision and the order was set aside in October. Now, I have decided to release the film all over India on December 8.
Hat tip: Gaurav Tyagi