Director not to move Supreme Court against T.N. ban now

The reel story of surging waters from a collapsed dam sweeping away thousands of people unfolded on 550 silver screens across India on Friday against the backdrop of a ban slapped on the movie — Dam 999 — by Tamil Nadu, which saw in the story a possible ‘real life' allusion to the Mullaperiyar dam over which Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at daggers drawn for some time now.

(A PTI report on Friday said the movie was released in Kerala in 50 theatres. It was released in the UAE on Thursday and would be screened in Singapore on Saturday.)

The Tamil Nadu government banned the film after political pressure mounted in the State against the movie whose title was seen as alluding to the 999-year lease on the Mullaperiyar dam. For some time now Kerala has been contending that the dam's structure was weak, had developed cracks and would collapse if an earthquake hits the area. Kerala wants to build a new dam in the area, while Tamil Nadu is strongly opposed to idea.

Tamil Nadu said the release of the movie could disturb cordial ties between the two States and create a law and order problem.

Meantime, the film's director Sohan Roy told journalists at the press club here that he did not plan to immediately move the Supreme Court against the ban and that he hoped Tamil Nadu would ease the ban in a week.

“Those who are against this film have not yet watched the movie and prior to release the censor board had checked twice to ensure that the film had no elements that would raise any issues of tension between the two States. Our team is taking every effort to convince the authorities in Tamil Nadu so that they would soon realise their mistake and allow the screening of the film,” he said.

According to him, there was no indication in the film about Mullaperiyar and the movie itself was dedicated to the people who died following the collapse of the Banqiao reservoir, in 1975, located in Zhumadian, which is about 1,000 km south of Beijing, China.

The title of the film denotes the date September 9, 2009 when the dam in the film collapses and not the 999-year lease agreement of the Mullaperiyar Dam. The script was written is such a way that in whatever language it was made, the scenes should adapt to the particular area. The misunderstanding must have risen because many assumed that the film was made based on an earlier documentary made by his team on the Mullaperiyar issue titled —The Lethal Water Bombs.

The collapse of the dam, though, is only one part of the film. After the release of the film Slumdog Millionaire, the world saw India as the land of slums. ButDam999portrays the tradition of ayurveda, astrology, music, culture and family bonds that exist in the country. It also acts as an eye-opener to the public about the level of corruption and seeks to create awareness about the danger posed by old dams in the country, Mr. Roy said.

The ban on the film has only given added publicity for this film and has created an environment where the people have taken up the issue of Mullaperiyar which had remained in the backstage for so many years, he said.

The $10-million, 3D, movie produced by Warner Brothers has satellite telecast rights for 200 countries, he added.