By Subhash K Jha
Mumbai–Harry Sachdeva, who wrote and produced “31st October”, says unreasonable cuts by Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) “diluted the impact of the film”.
“31st October” was based on the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. It was directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil. The censor board gave the clearance for release of the politically controversial film to Delhi High Court after deletion of some objectionable scenes. It released on October 21.
“I haven’t shown even one incident in the film that isn’t true. Yet the censor board delayed my film by one year. They asked for over 60 verbal and visual cuts. For what? And cut what? Incidents that really happened? I was told by the censor board that these things never happened! I was asked to beep out a simple ‘saala’ from the soundtrack when ‘Udta Punjab’ was allowed the ugliest expletives abuses and profanities that mankind has ever uttered,” Sachdeva said.
Harry said that he never discussed the film with the CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani.
“I was only told about the objections by censor board members. Now, I feel if I had a chance to explain my film to Mr Nihalani things might have been different. The unreasonable cuts have definitely diluted the impact of my film,” he said.
The film stars Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan.
Sachdeva also added that he is “not surprised that the Sikh community has responded emotionally to our film”.
“These are all incidents from those four days after Indira ji’s death that really happened. Every Sikh who lived to tell the tale has gone through the trauma described in my film. My family would have been wiped out if our Hindu friends had not helped us. I was a first-hand witness to the incidents we see in the film,” he said.