Bhujbal clears way for Aarakshan, but with snips
Apprehensions over the release of Prakash Jha's film Aarakshan, which is scheduled for release this Friday, eased on Wednesday when OBC leader and PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal declared that the misunderstanding about the film had been cleared and the director had promised to cut a few objectionable dialogues and scenes.
Bhujbal's announcement came after a special preview of the film at Eros theatre on Tuesday night. It was also attended by RPI leaders, ministers and MLAs. "The promos of the film had created an impression that the film is against the reservation system," Bhujbal said on Wednesday. "But after watching the film, our misunderstanding was cleared. But there are a couple of dialogues and scenes which we feel are objectionable, but Jha has assured us that he will remove them or modify them."
He said after watching the film and talking to Jha, there was no point in opposing the release of the movie and his outfit as well as the RPI had withdrawn their agitation. He said he had spoken to RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, who had agreed to withdraw the stir.
Athawale said though Bhujbal as well as Jha had spoken to him on the issue, he was not aware that Bhujbal will make an announcement on the withdrawal of the stir. He said he had not watched the movie as he was out of town and his party's Mumbai chief Gautam Sonawane had represented him at the screening. He said he had no issues with the release of the film if it did not contain any major objectionable scene or dialogue. He, however, said he will make an announcement on Thursday.
Meanwhile, denying that he had refused previews for political parties, Jha said, "Our meeting with Bhujbal went well and he has suggested a few changes. We are in talks and will eventually figure out what cuts we need to make."
Bhujbal's social outfit Akhil Bharatiya Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad and the RPI had opposed the film on the grounds that it was against the reservation system, will divide communities and instigate violence. Activists of the RPI and the Parishad had torn posters and hoardings of the film in various parts of the city and the state. Both the organisations had demanded that their leaders be shown the film before release.
The leaders who watched the film included Bhujbal, his nephew Sameer (MP from Nashik), son Pankaj (MLA from Nashik), Mumbai president of the RPI Gautam Sonawane, member secretary of state government's panel to publish writings and speeches of Babasaheb Ambedkar Hari Narke, filmmaker Jabbar Patel, Minister for Social Justice Shivajirao Moghe, Minister for Women and Child Welfare Varsha Gaikwad.
Cops beef up security ahead of release
Taking precautions ahead of Aarakshan's release, the police said there will be increased deployment at multiplexes in the city. Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said adequate police personnel will be deployed for maintaining law and order near multiplexes screening the movie. "This is just a preventive action. We will be checking spots which may have possibilities of problems. Our policemen will be deployed there when the movie releases. We want to ensure a smooth screening of the movie," said Seth. While the movie is slated for release this week, Seth revealed the police have not received any letter from the makers of the movie. "We have not received any communication about security concerns yet. However, that does not mean we must not be ready," he added.