Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi who in the past has woven such pre-eminent erudite literary content for television and cinema as Chanakya and Pinjar has won a long battle with censorship in India.
His new feature film Mohalla Assi featuring Sunny Deol as a priest in Varanasi battling bigotry, pollution and tourist invasion in the Holy City, has finally been cleared for release by the CBFC. The film’s strong language filled with Hindi expletives spares no holy entity, and is bound to trigger off debates on release this Friday, as it goes passionately into the sensitive issue of building a ram temple in Ayodhya.
At one point in the trailer Sunny Deol is heard heatedly telling his screen wife Sakshi Tanwar, “Constructing a Ram temple inAyodhya is our dharm.”
Non-BJP supporters are already labeling Mohalla Assi as pro-government propaganda , though the director very clearly states that he wanted to tell a story about the creative, moral and environmental pollution of Varanasi.
Mohalla Assi based on the well-known novel by Hindi litterateur Kashanath Singh is scathing critique on the touristic commercialization of the Holy city of Varanasi.
In the film Sunny Deol plays a self-righteous priest fighting against the ecological and moral pollution of Varanasi. The film’s all-pervasive mood seems to have infected Deol. Never known to use even a single profanity in his entire career, Deol is heard calling himself a ‘chutiya’ in the trailer . In fact the extremely abusive Hindi term “bhosri ke” is used throughout the film as an integral part of the local language.
The director who has fought long and hard for the film to be released that the film says is neither pro or anti any government.
“This is my homage to the beautiful city of Varanasi,” says Dr Dwivedi emotionally.
Interestingly Varanasi is the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency. The Prime Minister is expected to view Mohalla Assi shortly.