In his tweet, director Madhur Bhandarkar said, “Dear @OfficeOfRG after Pune I have 2 cancel today’s PressCon at Nagpur. Do you approve this hooliganism? Can I have my Freedom of Expression?”
MUMBAI: Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar cancelled his promotional events for Indu Sarkar – a movie on Emergency which has incurred the displeasure of local Congress workers – in Nagpur and Mumbai. The event in Nagpur was to be held this morning, the one in Mumbai – tomorrow. An event in Pune had to be cancelled yesterday due to the ruckus created by local Congress workers. The irked director tweeted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, asking if he approved of the “hooliganism” by Congress workers.
In his tweet, the director said, “Dear @OfficeOfRG after Pune I have 2 cancel today’s PressCon at Nagpur. Do you approve this hooliganism? Can I have my Freedom of Expression?”
“Me and my actors are frightened, we are being threatened. You are scared of a film, what is this?” he later told reporters.
The movie is set in the backdrop of the Emergency and has characters inspired by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has demanded that the director hold a special screening so they can ensure that the “characters are not shown in a bad light”.
The Congress has distanced itself from the protests, with senior leader Pawan Khera saying the party has “nothing to do” with them. He also questioned if the workers were even from the Congress. “The Congress party absolutely distances itself from these kinds of protests. We criticise it, we condemn it,” he told NDTV.
But Umakant Agnihotri, a Congress strongman who led the protests in Nagpur, told NDTV: “Congress workers will not allow Mr Bhandarkar to promote his film anywhere across the country as it may assassinate the character of the party’s icon Indira Gandhi.”
The Central Board of Film Certification has suggested 12 cuts and two disclaimers in the film. Mr Bhandarkar had been asked to remove words like RSS and Akali from Indu Sarkar.