In a major development, Uttarakhand government has banned the screening of the Bollywood flick Kedarnath citing law and order considerations. Chief minister Trivendra Rawat had formed a committee under the chairmanship of the state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj to decide whether the film should be screened in Uttarakhand theatres. Now, Satpal Maharaj has stated, “We watched the film yesterday and decided that though there must be no ban on any work of art, law and order situation too has to be taken into consideration.”
All the 13 District Magistrates in the state were directed by the chief minister to assess the law and order situation in their districts and then take a call about screening the movie or not. Maharaj stated, “We don’t want a breach of law and order. We want tranquility, and that’s why district magistrates decided to ban the film’s screening.” Stressing upon the importance of the holy town, Maharaj added, “Kedarnath is one of the most revered shrines in the country, so we respect sentiments of all groups that objected to the film.” He also voiced his personal objection over the name of the movie. Maharaj made it clear that people visit the shrine to attain moksha (liberation) and therefore, it was not appropriate to name a film after a place of such purity.
ADG (Law & Order) Ashok Kumar said that District Magistrates of Nainital, Dehradun, Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar, Almora, Pauri Garhwal, and Tehri Garhwal have banned the screening of the movie Kedarnath. Interestingly, other districts including Rudraprayag where the movie was shot, do not have operational cinema halls. This by implication means that the ban is not going to lose its sheen and the screening of the movie has been banned to a large extent.
This ban is actually going to set a new and bold precedent. There are times when movies or their scripts have a hidden agenda. Usually, bans on movies or other works of art should not be resorted to but it is a welcome decision when a controversial art of work could potentially create a law and order situation. Kedarnath epitomises the influence of left-liberals and Hinduphobia in Bollywood. The movie which is supposedly based on the 2013 floods tragedy in Uttarakhand blatantly has a blatantly Hinduphobic twist to its narrative and plot. One cannot help but notice the palpable contempt for the Sanatan community in the plot and screenplay of the movie. The stress of the plot is unmistakably towards a Muslim protagonist put against a radical set of those belonging to the Sanatan community.
The movie is not only an insult to the victims of the 2013 tragedy but also a futile exercise in pseudo-secularism. In fact, the movie barely touches the topic of the disaster that struck the holy town and the rescue operations that followed. It is more of a futile exercise in raising the banner of ‘secularism’ and ‘liberalism’. However, in propounding these ideals, it seems that sentiments of the Sanatan community were not even considered. The Uttarakhand government has thus sent across a clear, strong and bold message by assessing the situation and banning it promptly.