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  Opinion   Edit  27 Dec 2023  AA Edit | Don't try to censor political films

AA Edit | Don't try to censor political films

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 27, 2023, 11:30 pm IST
Updated : Dec 27, 2023, 11:30 pm IST

Telugu states have cineaste voters, who love films, which could be a platform for influencing people and bending popular narratives

Ram Gopal Varma (Twitter)
 Ram Gopal Varma (Twitter)

In a welcome judgment, the Telangana high court refused to stay the release of Vyuham, a film being made by controversial master director Ram Gopal Varma set on Andhra Pradesh politics.

RGV, as the auteur extraordinaire is popularly referred to, has made no bones about the film being a fan-biography of Andhra Pradesh chief minister and YSRC party founder Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Based on the songs and trailers released so far, and his past political works, it is clear that he intends to lampoon former AP chief minister and Telugu Desam chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, and his son Nara Lokesh, mischaracterising them as villains, or buffoons alternatively.

The film, set for release in both Telugu states on December 29, has, therefore, caused much heartburn among the fans and supporters of Telugu Desam, which pushed the party general secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh to seek judicial action against it.

The courts have refused to stay the release of the film on the ground that they could not pass orders after hearing a single side to the issue, and sought more time to hear both the filmmaker as well as the censor board, which has cleared its theatrical release.

The outcome is in stark contrast to the fate of another film, Razakaar, which was being made by a BJP leader and candidate in the recently concluded Telangana Assembly election. Blaming the filmmaker of clear bias and intent to disturb communal harmony, besides helping create a “fake” narrative to support the saffron party, BRS party working president K.T. Rama Rao had sought a total ban. However, the film could not be released before the elections in Telangana owing to logistical and other practical reasons.

Telugu states have cineaste voters, who love films, which could be a platform for influencing people and bending popular narratives. But bans and censorship are no answer to propaganda, even if it is thinly veiled as art. The only response is more art, or counter-propaganda by other means. Let us ban the bans.

Tags: telangana high court, ram gopal varma, censor board of film certification, jagan mohan reddy