Published: 28th December 2020
Censor board bans release of Malayalam film set in JNU. Here's what the film is all about
The film talks about a girl from Malappuram who goes to JNU to pursue her research on a freedom fighter from Kerala
The Kerala regional office of the Censor Board of Film Certification recently rejected permission to screen a film titled Varthamanam. Written and produced by Congress leader Aryadan Shoukath and directed by Sidhartha Siva, the Parvathy-starrer film is set in the backdrop of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The screenshot of a tweet by Advocate V Sandeep Kumar, a CBFC member and a BJP leader says that the film glorifies anti-national elements. "The film talks about how Dalits and Muslims were tortured during the protests in JNU. I was against it. The reason? The film's writer-produced Aryadan Shoukath," it reads. The tweet is, however, deleted now.
Shoukath, on the other hand, says that he will go to any extent to make sure that people get to watch the film. He also explains the premise to us. "The film talks about a Muslim girl from Malappuram, who goes to JNU to pursue her PhD. She is researching freedom fighter Mohammed Abdur Rahman Sahib. JNU is a campus where students are united to fight against the forces that try to destroy the spirit and unity of this country. Naturally, she gets attracted to it and joins the student struggle," says Shoukath. He also tells us that he spent almost three years researching the subject. In that span of time, he has been to the university multiple times and has had conversations with a lot of prominent student leaders.
"This is a film that everyone must watch," says Shoukath. Reacting to Kumar's tweet, he asked how talking about student protests and democracy is anti-national, through a Facebook post. "We still live in a socialist, secular, sovereign, democratic, republic. Do we decide the status of a film's release based on the screenwriter's caste and creed? I cannot agree to the emergency in our cultural field," he says.