For Congress, 'Rajneeti' is full of Sonia

No filmi stuff this

For Congress, 'Rajneeti' is full of Sonia

If the saffron brigade is touchy about the alleged Hindutva attacks in M F Husain’s paintings or Deepa Mehta’s films, anything construed critical of the family, from films like “Aandhi” and “Kissa Kursi Ka” to books like Catherine Frank’s “Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi”, earns the ire of the Congress.

The latest to barely escape an overzealous Congress’ ire is “Rajneeti”, Prakash Jha’s reworking of the “Mahabharata” in the context of present-day politics, for allegedly modelling Katrina Kaif’s character on party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Only a couple of years ago, the party ensured, through a legal notice sent by AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, that Jagmohan Mundhra dropped his planned biopic on Sonia Gandhi.

In fact, the party has quite a history when it comes to blocking material that it considers portrays the Nehru-Gandhi family critically.

 The most brazen among them was the burning down of the print of “Kissa Kursi Ka”, directed by Amrit Nahata and starring Shabana Azmi and Raj Kiran, allegedly by goons sent by Sanjay Gandhi during Emergency.

Another film that irked the Congress was Gulzar’s “Aandhi”.

In July 1975, soon after the imposition of Emergency by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, it was banned, as the party thought the lead character played by Suchitra Sen resembled Mrs Gandhi. The film was cleared only after its makers agreed to delete some scenes and make changes in the narrative.

In “Rajneeti”, Jha has vehemently denied that Kaif’s character has any similarity with Sonia, “except that both are women”. But the Congress got three pro-party members of the Central Board of Film Certification, Tom Vadakkan, Pankaj Sharma and Sanjeev Bhargava, to fly to Mumbai to view the film and vet it.

Vadakkan, AICC secretary, Sharma, an editor of party mouthpiece “Sandesh”, and cultural activist Bhargava, reportedly took a dim view of certain scenes and dialogues in the film and suggested an ‘A’ (for adult viewing) certification.

But Jha got an ‘U/A’ (unrestricted viewing, including by children, if accompanied by adults) certification from the Board’s appellate tribunal. But this was only after he deleted a few scenes, including portions of a lovemaking scene between Arjun Rampal and Kaif, and replaced some words like “bidhwa” (widow) with “bitiya” (daughter).

Two other important deletions Jha had to do were with a reported reference to tampering of electronic voting machines and a mention that women have to sleep their way through to rise in politics.

Whether or not it does well at the box office, it has once again brought to the fore that Nehru-Gandhi family is indeed the Congress’s first family.

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