Film Ban: Cultural activists to launch mass campaign

Indian Express July 5,2002

Writer and critic, Dr T K Ramachandran speaking at the meeting of cultural activists organised by the District Cultural Samithi to protest against the ban on screening the documentary ‘Ram Ke Nam,’ in Malappuram on Thursday

Malappuram, Kerala, July 4: Cultural activists from across the State, who gathered here today to protest against the district administration’s recent decision to prohibit the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary film Ram Ke Naam in the district, urged the Government to immediately revoke the controversial decision.

Writers, filmmakers, cartoonists and poets, who took part in the day-long function, organised by the District Samskarika Sam¬ithi in front of the KSRTC bus stand here, vowed to thwart the ban by launching a mass campaign. As a part of this, the documentary will be screened in all parts of the district in the coming days.
The staging of street plays, poetry recitations and painting sessions marked the protest programme.
It may be recalled that the former District Collector K Chandrasekhara Babu had prohibited the screening of the film in the district following a report submitted by the Superintendent of Police A Balakrishnan Nair, which said that the film, if screened in the district, might create law and order problems, which might lead to communal disturbances.

Speaking at the function, noted film maker P T Kunjumuhamed cautioned that the district administrations move to bridle the democratic rights by citing frivolous reasons would invite a strong backlash from the people.
He said that the decision of the District Collector to ban a documentary which had been telecast even by the national channel, smacked of arrogance.

CPM leader T K Hamza who addressed the meeting asked the IUML to spell out its stand on the issue. He said that the decision to ban the documentary in the district alone was part of a concerted attempt to depict the district in a bad light.

Writer and critic Dr T K Ramachandran said that the ban on the documentary in the district should be viewed in the light of the sustained efforts by the Hindutva brigade to silence their critics. He said that the recent move by tne Censor Board to recommend seven unnecessary cuts in Anand Patwardhan’s latest documentary ‘War and Peace’ showed that it had denigrated itself to become just an instrument in the hands of the Sangh Parivar to safeguard their interests.

District Samskarika Samithi Chairman Dr Raghavan Payya-nad presided over the meeting.Purogamana Kala Sahithya Sanghom general secretary P Appukuttan made the introductory speech. Dr N V P Unithiri, K E N Kunjahammed, filmmakers Pavithran, Priyanandanan and P Balan were among others spoke at the meeting.
Ramachandran Mokeri staged a street play Ram Ke Naam at the function.

Theatre activist Ramachandran Mokeri staging the street play ‘Ram Ke Nam’ at the function