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Updated: November 25, 2011 01:05 IST

Tamil Nadu government bans Dam 999 film

Special Correspondent
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Screengrab shows a poster of the film “Dam 999” as displayed in the movie’s official website.
Screengrab shows a poster of the film “Dam 999” as displayed in the movie’s official website.

The Tamil Nadu government has banned the screening of the feature film, Dam 999, with immediate effect.

This was announced in a press release issued by Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi on Thursday.

The announcement followed the demand of several political leaders, including M. Karunanidhi of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Vaiko of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and S. Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi for a ban on the screening of the film.

The movie, according to its official website, is a tribute to those who died in the collapse of the 1975 Banqiao Dam. The story is about nine characters whose lives revolve around a crumbling dam. Some of those involved in the Tamil film industry have also worked for this film. They are Thotta Tharani (production designer), V. Srinivas Murali Mohan (graphics supervisor) and Anal Arasu (action director).

A news report published on the website of People's Daily Online in October 2005 stated that following a typhoon and the occurrence of 106 cm rainfall in 24 hours in August 1975 led to the collapse of Banqiao reservoir (located in Zhumadian, about 1,000 km south of Beijing) initially and 61 other dams in a series. Official statistics recorded 30 years after the dams burst showed that more than 26,000 people were killed in the floods and 10 million people affected, the report added.

Another press release issued by the Chief Secretary gave a brief account of the story of the film, according to which, the burst of a weak dam, constructed by a corrupt Mayor, led to massive flooding, resulting in the death of lakhs of people, including children, women and senior citizens. Also, it appeared that the title of the movie “Dam 999” was kept with the Mullaperiyar dam in mind.

Besides, statements and interviews of the moviemaker Sohan Roy, mariner-turned-film director, who hails from Kerala, revealed that the disaster that visited China in 1975 could happen in Mullaperiyar and that after viewing the film, the Tamil Nadu government would extend its cooperation for the construction of a new dam.

Even though the Mullaperiyar dam was not shown directly in the film, the visuals, shot in Alapuzha of Kerala, were reminiscent of the Mullaperiyar dam. As the title of the film indirectly pointed to the Muallperiyar dispute and the movie was designed to create a scare among people that the Mullaperiyar dam would collapse; generate discord between people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and lead to law and order problems in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa ordered that the screening of the film, slated for release on Friday, be banned, Mr. Sarangi stated.

Director plans to move Supreme Court

PTI adds:

The ban was described as “totally unfortunate” by the film’s director Sohan Roy, who said he planned to approach the Supreme Court against it because he has been given a go ahead by the Censor Board.

“This should not happen to any movie or creative work in India. Such actions will kill creative minds,” Mr. Roy, who is in Dubai in connection with the film release in UAE, told PTI when contacted from Kochi.

He said Dam 999 is a film with a "social cause", which describes hazards dams can cause and creates awareness among the masses about the impending dangers of a dam collapse if not attended to on time. The ban would send “wrong signals”, he said and pointed out there was not a word mentioning Mullaiperiyar or the issue in the film.

Mullaiperiyaar issue is a temporary one, which is created by the government, when it is in turmoil. Because, just a few days back some of the commodities price had been increased exorbitantly. What a timing of price rise. A few days back all eyes were on the issue of price rise. Every political party have announced their agitation plans periodically. Even general public also expressed their anger about the price rise. At this juncture, this government is taking the weapon Mullaiperiyaar issue. Now the price rise issue is automatically vanished by imposing the issue i.e. mullaiperiyaar issue among the public. Everybody is discussing about the present issue, not the price rise. If they really want to settle the issue immediately, the govt. has to sit with concerned state and delegates without seeing the ego.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Dec 10, 2011 at 16:57 IST

I donot know what is the problem ..anyway a new dam has to be built in 999 years.I sincerely dont think 1 dam will be enough for 999 years.SO why not now ??So if the TN feels that they will lose control of the new dam if its built now..wont they lose control of dam if a new one(i doubt whether it will be just 1) is built in a 1000 years ? So the dam has outlived its period..and still we cant tell it will stand so for another 5-10 years.or even an hour more.

from:  Mathews
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 15:05 IST

Again earthquakes in Kerala Idukki district. People from both side should sit together to come with a solution immediately. Loss will be for both sates even a small crack happens.

from:  Anoop
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 14:32 IST

Walking in on a situation like Dam 999, I feel that socially relevant
films can make a difference!

from:  abrar
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 19:34 IST

Hope this is not the right time to get in to a Debate and cross examine what went wrong . its time to act soon and avoid a much awaited disaster

from:  kumar
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 19:07 IST

Why does the Government treat people as immature adolescents? Even if there is something objectionable in the movie, people should be allowed to watch and make judgement of their own. Banning it outright reeks of totalitarianism.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 18:45 IST

We receive Krishna and Veeranam water and arrange for its storage. Like
that, why can`t we draw Mullaperiyar water as and when it flows like a
river without allowing it to be stored so as not to cause any disaster
in the event of collapse of the dam and store the water so drawn in TN`s
territory by suitable means? Even if a new dam is constructed, Kerala
may raise the same issue after certain years.

from:  R.Ganesan.
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 17:58 IST

They need not have banned it. Nobody would have watched it if the bad reviews online are true. TN govt has jumped the gun.

from:  Shankar
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 16:13 IST

While it is disturbing that a state government has to stoop to a level
of banning movies; it is equally unfair that state governments are
sponsoring propaganda films on sensitive issues, against other state

What next a proxy civil war ?

from:  Guhen
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 15:47 IST

Why does the government get involved in deciding what people have to see / not see. Let them do the job of doing good governance first. controlling people and their minds has becoming a hallmark of anyone in power. Immature decision.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 13:05 IST

It is quite unfortunate that the state government has banned the film.

from:  Sravana Ramachandran
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 12:08 IST

It is unfortunate that Supreme court is watching this issue silently. In early 2000s it ordered the dam to be retained and it retracted back from its judgement now. For that it has appointed a committee to look into this issue again. Kerala Government & its political leaders politicising this issue to keep their popularity alive and to make money while constructing the dam, trying to do all the gimmicks required for a film. Now they have come to abuse the power of media using graphics for their smear campaign. Let SC take a suo motto action on this as they are the only hope for the people of this land.

from:  Boopathy
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 08:46 IST

Great move. There is no better way to publicize a movie than to ban it outright. Now it is guarenteed to be a success

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 01:52 IST

Mindless government. Does it actually prevent people of tamilnadu from watching this movie in DVD's and torrent downloads?

from:  Shyam
Posted on: Nov 25, 2011 at 01:31 IST
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