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Banned – Jodhaa Akbar

Ban – the word invokes both interest and anger. Interest because anything that is banned has definitely rubbed someone the wrong way and we the curious masses always want to know why. And the very idea of not letting someone else see/hear/read something because you (or an accumulation of people of your kind) think so, atleast in a modern democracy (with pretensions of progressiveness) like India tickles my annoyance.

Jodhaa Akbar banned in Madhya Pradesh

…and in parts of Haryana in addition to Rajasthan where it wasn’t released.

Historians and certain communities might not all agree with the story that the makers of the movie presented in 70mm. That Jodhaa depicted as Akbar’s queen was – according to certain versions – actually his daughter-in-law. Right. Everyone has a right to protest. If the film is indeed offensive, they should have called for a voluntary boycott. If the halls are empty, distributors will themselves take it off.

But then no one wants to gauge the sentiment of the general public; rather it is much easier to threaten violence. And the administration, which is supposed to uphold the rule of law, falls prey to blackmail (and political considerations).

Though I didn’t like the movie much, I would at best give Ashutosh Gowarikar’s latest directorial venture a three star rating (out of five). The film tried to mount two horses at once – history and romance – and in the process fell of both.

Hrithik nevertheless delivered a commendable performance and looked his role while Aishwariya fitted in nicely only when she wasn’t talking and moving. As for the royal intrigues, Santosh Sivan packaged it much better in Asoka.

Coming back to bans. In the long run a boycott would work better than a ban. Because a ban, as mentioned in opening sentence of this post invokes interest and would go against the purpose of the ban in places where the film (or whatever) is not banned. Whereas a successful voluntary boycott would dissuade habitual controversy seekers, as it would hit them where it hurts the most – their bank balances. Moreover, in this e-era do bans really work?

If tomorrow, a section of the population disgusted by the goings on in any of the state assemblies threaten to burn it down (they actually did in Manipur, while in Meghalaya it was reduced to ashes by accident). Will the state administration, relying on intelligence inputs, ban future session in the assembly?

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