Friday, June 02, 2006

Banning The Da Vinci Code

First censor board clears it, then the I&B ministry (going out of its way) holds a special screening and clears it albeit with some conditions. We then thought that that was the end of it and everybody can sit back and enjoy the most talked about movie of the year. And now various state governments have banned it. Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Nagaland, Meghalaya and counting.

When I read this news, my first reaction was that of anger.

“Our country is intellectually so backward”, I shouted out loudly.

I have seen the movie myself (luckily they didn’t ban it in California) and it just looked like a normal thriller movie to me. Instead of creating all this ruckus, if these guys just had let it play in the theatres, it may run for 2-3 weeks (I don’t think its going to be a big hit) and then make way for “Kabhi Omelette Kabhi Half-Boiled” and then will just fade away from people’s minds and life will move on. Right?


On second thoughts, I feel banning it is a right decision. First of all, it does hurt sentiments of certain sections of the society. It may be a piece of fiction but saying that Jesus was married and had a child, well it sure does sound blasphemous to me. I am not a christian but a little bit of sensible thinking is all that is required to understand how a god-fearing, deeply religious christian will feel about it.

When we see or read something which hurts our religious sentiments, we do act defensively, though the way in which different people react may be different. Some of us are privileged with better education and better judgement and hence react in a peaceful, responsible manner. But that need not be the case with everyone, more so in a country like ours where emotions run high.

In an official statement, Special Chief Secretary (Home) Paul Bhuyan justified the ban, arguing that the minority organisations had pointed out that 'the film's story line attacked the very heart of the Holy Gospel destroying the divinity of Jesus Christ. Its screening might lead to unrest among the semi-literate and illiterate rural folk following the faith.'

I think the above official statement pretty much sums it up.

Secondly, the movie is just not worth the violence that will accompany the protests that would follow its screening. I mean, really, its just an ordinary movie based on a ordinary book, not some great work of art that has to be seen and appreciated by one and all. We have had some really well made artistic movies of our times getting inadvertently embroiled in controversies of all kinds. And one does feel sad and helpless at the bigotry and intolerance shown by a few handful which deprives the rest of the society from appriciating true art – be it a feature film, a book or a painting. But this one doesn’t fall into that category. So the question arises - do we really need all the stone throwing, broken foreheads and destroyed screens just for showing a darn movie?

Let me clarify that I do believe in freedom of expression. My viewpoints are largely libertarian. But freedom of expression ceases to be so when it intrudes into someone else’s faiths and beliefs. It becomes plain “Panga Lena”.

Anway, those who really want to watch it will anyway watch it through CDs and DVDs which will soon flood the markets, if not already. So there you go, rent a DVD, take home and watch it. Enjoy!

Jiyo aur Jeene Do!!

On a funny note, had this movie been released in Punjab, here’s probably how the scene would look outside “Ludhiana Talkies”..

I got it from the internet, all credits to the creator of this (Morparic?)

Update : This cartoon is by Morparia, a cartoonist for Mid-Day in Mumbai. Thanks amit for the info.


Blogger Patrix said...

So each time a certain section of the population threatens violence under the pretext that it has hurt their religious sentiments, it is ok to give in to their demands? By that logic, 9/11 and Kandhar can also be completely justifiable. Remember, it hardly matters if the movie is worth defending or not, it sets a dangerous precedent that you cannot back away from later.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Happy-Go-Lucky said...

Patrix, 9/11 and kandahar hijacking were acts of terrorism and there is purely no justification of terrorism or killing of innocent civilians.

Ideally I would have liked people to just accept that this movie is just a piece of fiction and accept it that way. But we all know how sensitive, intolerant and emotional an average indian is. These protests may be politically motivated or attempts by some sections to show their clout. But if it results in violence, then thats sad.

Even though I am personally against this ban, I support this ban since it will avoid unnecessary troubles. A pragmatic approach, you can say.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Ravi said...

banning is bad. What if the story is true?

2:15 AM  

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