Armed with a hard-earned certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the film Papilio Buddha , which deals with the issues of a community of displaced Dalits, is set to hit the screens by February-end.
After a protracted struggle lasting several months, the CBFC issued the certificate on December 31. Prakash Bare, co-producer of the film directed by the New York-based Malayali filmmaker Jayan Cherian, told The Hindu that the upcoming Chittur Film Festival in Palakkad on January 25 would open with its debut public screening.
“We have already held discussions with a distributor who has agreed to distribute the film across Kerala,” Mr. Bare said. The film, which had been first denied certification by the CBFC on grounds that it depicted Mahatma Gandhi in poor light, was recommended for ‘A’ certification by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) after its makers effected the alterations advised by the tribunal. Scenes showing garlanding and burning of Gandhiji in effigy and the razing of a Buddha idol by a mob were blurred.
Mr. Cherian told The Hindu that the FCAT’s demand that a comment made by B.R. Ambedkar be excised from the film had taken him by surprise. “Is India afraid of history? ‘Mute’ Dr. Ambedkar is the solution? Of the satyagraha of 1932, Dr. Ambedkar wrote: “There was nothing noble in the fast. It was a foul and filthy act. The fast was not for the benefit of the Untouchables. It was against them and was the worst form of coercion against a helpless people,’ forcing them to ‘agree to live on the mercy of the Hindus.”