The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal has refused to certify ‘Porkalathil Oru Poo’, a film based on the life of a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist Isaipriya, who was allegedly killed by Sri Lankan armed forces during the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka. The decision will effectively end any hopes of getting it released in India.
The film director, K. Ganesan, claims that objections were raised over several scenes, including addition of a news clip in which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa passes a resolution calling for an international probe against Sri Lanka, demanding a separate Tamil Eelam and cutting ties with Sri Lanka. He said officials also wanted to reduce the length of last couple of reels and remove the LTTE’s slogan.
“I didn’t remove some of other things which could have been perceived as being problematic, because I wanted them (officials) to come up with the objections instead of I assuming them,” he said.
Mr. Ganesan claimed that the certification was refused though he was open to making several changes to the film. “I had made the changes that were expected. But they refused the certification saying that the film is against the Sri Lankan State,” he said.
‘Unsuitable for screening’
Reacting to the development, S. Ve. Shekar, regional chairman of CBFC, clarified that the CBFC had gone absolutely by the rule book. “We are here to help the producer legally release the film in India. We are not a censor board. The film was denied certification because it was clearly intended to disparage Sri Lanka, a friendly neighbouring State,” he said.
He further added that there are long sequences of gang rape in the film, which is unsuitable for screening in a public place. “The alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan army are shown in detail. Also, how can we use Ms. Jayalalithaa's speech in a film without her consent?”
Explaining that the decision does not amount to censorship, Mr. Shekar said everyone had a right to make such films, but could not expect CBFC to give certification if the theme itself was problematic. “It is not true that we are scuttling free speech. We recently gave certification for a film called ‘Eelathin Magan’, which directly showed army men executing a young boy. It was made without taking any names. We all know on whom the film was based. But, it was cleverly veiled and we didn’t have a problem,” he said.
Film Certification Appellate Tribunal also refuses to certify ‘Porkalathil Oru Poo’