War and Peace
on DD National
on Sunday 10.30 AM,
It never rains, it pours! Fast on the heels of the telecast of Father, Son and Holy War on India’s public broadcast channel, Doordarshan (DD) last Sunday morning, DD National is set to telecast Anand’s anti-nuclear documentary War and Peace on Sunday, 15th October at 10.30 AM.
While Father, Son and Holy War took 11 years in court, War and Peace has had its own share of long legal and extra legal battles.
A chronology of events
1. In February 2002 War and Peace a 163 minute anti-nuclear documentary won the Best Film/Video award at the Mumbai International Film Festival.
2. A few months later the Central Board of Film Certification under the obvious influence of the ruling BJP, refused to grant the film a certificate unless 21 cuts were made.
3. After a long appeals procedure, the matter finally went to court. In April 2003 the Bombay High Court ruled that the film be granted a “U” certificate without a single cut.
4. Ironically, in 2004, the film won a National award for the Best Non-feature film. It was then submitted for telecast on Doordarshan. On five previous occasions the courts have ordered Doordarshan to show Anand’s national award winning films.
5. The heads of Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati agreed to the telecast if certain sequences were removed from the film. Anand refused and a long battle of attrition followed.
6. With the threat of court action looming, DD agreed in writing to telecast the film but attempted to set the time slot at 11.30 PM on a Sunday night. Anand countered that as his film was long and would end only after 2.15 AM, this would constitute “censorship by sleep”.
7. In November 2005 DD agreed in writing to telecast the entire film at 10.30 PM on two successive Sundays. Almost a year then passed with no actual dates set for the telecast.
8. Finally in April 2004 DD dropped a bombshell by going back on its commitment to telecast the entire film and formally asking for cuts. Anand refused, and the matter went into limbo.
9. On August 25 the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgement criticizing DD and Prasar Bharati for forcing Anand to go to court for the telecast of each of his National Award winning films, and ordering the telecast of the uncut Father, Son and Holy War.
10. On 8th of October DD complied with the order. This coming Sunday they will go a step further and show War and Peace, for once, without being forced to do so by court.