Well-known documentary maker Dakxin Bajrange Chhara’s first feature film Sameer is about a Muslim man, played with compelling conviction by the super-talented Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, wrongly implicated in a series of bomb blasts.
Though the film derives its strong topicality from newspaper headlines, the director has been forced to put a disclaimer that his film is work of fiction before being issued a a censor certificate.
Says the beleaguered director , “I am just relieved to have gotten through the censor .We live in very difficult times.Films on political issues are almost impossible to make let alone release. Given the scenario I think I managed to scrape through with minimal damage.”
For Chhara it was virtually like jumping from the firepan into the fire when he decided not to take the cuts ordered by the Central Board Of Film Certification. “We decided to go to the Tribunal instead and they were even more disapproving asking us how we thought we could get away with a film with such clear political implications regarding bombings and riots.”
The Examining Committee(EC) of the CBFC ordered 7 major cuts including scenes of bomb blasts, police torture, and references to Muslims and innumerable abuse words.Most notably, Chhara was asked to remove the expression, “Mann Ki Baat” from a dialogue as it is closely associated with the Prime Minister. Rather than accept these changes Chhara went to the Tribunal.
Says Chhara, “If anything, Tribunal was even harsher on our film.They asked us to remove several dialoguesincluding , ‘Sach toh yeh hai ki chai se lekar chutiya banana sab aapse sikha hai’. We were also instructed to change ‘Mann Ki Baat’ to ‘Ek Baat Kahun’.But like I said, just being able to release our film seems like a blessing.”