Filmmaker Prakash Jha’s upcoming Amitabh Bachchan starrer Aarakshan, which deals with the sensitive issue of reservation, has been passed by the Censor Board with a U/A certificate.
The film was embroiled in controversy after the National Commission for Minorities and National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Dalit bodies had sought a special screening to confirm the film did not misinterpret the constitutional provision for reservations of the socially backward classes.
The certificate was awarded after an examining committee, set up with representatives from the Dalit, OBC, SC and ST community reviewed the movie, said an I&B Ministry official, addding "they unanimously agreed to clear it."
"Aarakshan gets a clean chit from the Censor Board: Silences the critics. ‘Aarakshan’ seen by Censors today and gets a UA Certificate without a single cut…," Bachchan said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
"This speaks volumes about the responsibility and sensitivity with which the film has been written and directed. This certification should silence all critics who thought the film will upset sentiments of people from backward castes. National Commission for Scheduled Castes sent notice to Censor Board that the film should not be cleared by Censor Board without the approval of the Commission. However, Censor Board did not comply with this notice. Instead, it formulated an expert panel of its own to review the film," Bachchan said.
Member of Central Board of Film Certification Pankaj Sharma was the chairperson of the examining committee.
"The examining committee had a total of nine members and two officials. Retired Justice Mr Mukul Mudgal, Chairperson of Censor Board Ms Leela Samson, Mr Pankaj Sharma, Dalit activist, Ms Rajni Tilak were expert committee members who came from Delhi. Examining committee comprised of members drawn from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled tribes and Other Backward castes," Big B said.
"Drawing on people who specialize in issues related to backward castes, and taking people from community itself to examine the film, is a very unusual and unprecedented move on the part of the Censor Board," he added.
The August 12 release starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, is a drama based on the policies of caste-based reservation system in educational institutions and government jobs.
Earlier, Aarakshan had to face the wrath of civic administration in Bhopal, when they bulldozed the sets of the film because it was erected on a disputed land. Then, a pro-Dalit group in Kanpur protested against the casting of ‘royal’ Saif Ali Khan as a Dalit in the film.
Dalit Suraksha Samiti had sent a letter to Jha, saying that getting someone like Saif, a blue blood, to play a Dalit, is an insult to their community.(PTI)