Mumbai: A documentary on the rise of Arvind Kejriwal, from an activist to Delhi chief minister, has landed in trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) as the filmmakers claim they have been asked to remove references to the BJP and Congress.
Directorial duo Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s An Insignificant Man traces the rise of Kejriwal and the birth of Aam the Aadmi Party (AAP). “We have shown in our film how an outsider enters politics, it is about how somebody who is protesting becomes a politician. We did not anticipate any kind of trouble for our film," Ranka said. “It is a political film, so any number of things can be problematic or not problematic. The job of the censor (board) chief is not to protect political parties or politicians," she alleged.
However, CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani has refuted their claims, saying they have been asked to follow the regular procedure. “We have just asked them to follow the regular procedure. I have not asked them to give anything else. We have given them a notice. We have asked them to mute some words and the specification of which have been given in the letter, which they should share with the media," Nihalani said.
The duo had applied for certification in February this year and the examining committee saw the film. The filmmakers were then handed over a letter, stating that Nihalani had decided to pass the film to CBFC’s revising committee. Shukla claimed that when he went to meet Nihalani and asked him the reason behind CBFC’s decision, the censor board chief told him that he was “not obliged to give me any answers and we can go to the media". “After the film went to the revising committee, we were told to get an NOC from PM Narendra Modi, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit and current chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to clear their film," he said, adding they were consulting their lawyers for the next step.
Shukla said when a filmmaker attempts to make a realistic movie, he or she is punished with arbitrary rules of the CBFC. “Every Friday, a filmmaker cries because of the way the censorship laws are exercised in this country," he said. The 90-minute documentary was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and has been showcased at various film festivals.