Kaum De Heere release stopped: Film on Indira's killers had sparked protests
Punjabi film Kaum De Heere (Gems of the Community), which is scheduled to release in India on 22 August, has left security agencies in a tizzy.
Update: The film has been barred from release by the government over apprehensions of law and order problems in parts of the country.
Chandigarh: Punjabi film Kaum De Heere (Gems of the Community), which was scheduled to release in India on 22 August, had left security agencies in a tizzy. The Intelligence Bureau had said that the movie could become a source of tension between the Sikh and Hindu communities and had informed the Centre accordingly. Some Hindu organisations have already started protesting against the film while the youth wing of the Congress in Punjab has decided to organise activities across the state to prevent the movie from being released and screened in theatres.
The film, based on the lives of Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, the two bodyguards of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who assassinated her in 1983 to avenge Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple, has already been released in the Europe, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on 14 March and done reasonably good business there. Taking objections to certain scenes and dialogues, the Censor Board had stopped its release in India on 28 February, but after several cuts the film has been cleared for public viewing.
“We have made necessary cuts in the film as directed by the Censor Board and are now looking forward to its release in India on August 22 in 100 theatres, mostly in Punjab and also in Haryana and Delhi. We are very hopeful of a good response,” Satish Katyal, producer of the film, told Firstpost.
Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Operation Blue Star, assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and Satwant Singh, Beant Singh and their accomplice Kehar Singh have been sensitive subjects in the country. Most of the Sikhs mentioned above are regarded as 'saints' and 'martyrs' by radical Sikhs. The latter have even built a memorial for them inside the Golden Temple complex. Earlier Punjabi films Sadda Haq, Punjab 1984 and 47 to 84 had also courted controversy after their release.
“We are neither trying to defend the two nor trying to protect them. Our film is based on the biographies of Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. We are just stating the facts - their family background, their relation with people and the circumstances that influenced their behaviour. I know some people in need of publicity are raising voices, But we want to assure everyone that it is a very balanced film and has not got any content to create enmity between communities. No one should have any complains,” said Katyal, adding “The very fact that the Censor Board of India has cleared the film now after cuts, is a proof enough that the film is not at all controversial.”
The producer, however, did not want to speak about the several cuts the movie had to make for clearance by the Censor Board. “Let’s not speak about the scenes or dialogues that are no more in the film. The response to the film abroad was very positive and we are expecting a much better response in India,’’ he says. According to sources, the Censor Board had raised objections to the content, dialogues as well as the title of the film, but in the end cleared the film after several cuts.
The Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) has strongly opposed the permission granted for the screening of the film. According to an IANS report, Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, PYC president, has written a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. In the letter Chaudhary says the effort to glorify Indira Gandhi’s assassins and terrorism is unfortunate and it does not portend well for the hard earned peace in Punjab. He has warned of protests across Punjab.
Indian Youth Congress president, Rajeev Satav lashed out at the SAD-BJP combine for spreading communal forces across Punjab and the country. The Congress will take to the streets against the screening of the movie he said. "This is a calculated political move by the SAD Government in Punjab. Ever since the NDA has come to power, we are seeing numerous instances of communal tension across the country," he said.
With inputs from Sanjeev Singh
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