Kerala High Court strikes down the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) certifying the Film “Puzha Muthal Puzha Vare” for public exhibit restricting to adults subject to some modifications.
The film is based on the real incident of the anti-Hindu Malabar Genocide 1921 that took place in different parts of Kerala.
The bench of Justice N Nagaresh was dealing with a plea filed by Malayalam film director Ali Akbar. The petitioner alleged that the CBFC had violated his fundamental right. Advocate P Ravindran appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Manu S DSGI appeared for CBFC.
Ali Akbar is a director of the Malayalam film industry and reverted to Sanatan Dharma in January 2022 and the director changed his name to Ramasimhan Aboobakker.
The petitioner submitted an application to the CBFC seeking the certification of the film “Puzha Muthal Puzha Vare”. The film certification body referred the movie to a revising committee. The revising committee comprised of 10 members examined the movie and by majority decision (7/10), decided to issue ‘A’ certification to the movie with minor cuts.
Subsequently, the Chairman of CBFC again referred the film to a second revising committee. The petitioner argued that the decision of the Chairman of CFBC to refer the film to the second revising committee is illegal and arbitrary.
The board informed director Ali Akbar that it has decided to certify the film for public exhibition restricted to adults after carrying out modifications as recommended.
The petitioners urged that although the modifications recommended are 12 in number but in effect, modifications will be much more than 12 leading to undermining the soul of the movie.
On examination of the movie, three members of the Examining Committee suggested denial of certification to the movie as members believes that the film contained as well as dialogues that will endanger public order.
The regional officer sent the suggestions of the Committee members to the Board Chairman. The chairman referred the film to a revising committee. The Revising Committee consists of a Presiding officer and seven members. Five out of eight members revising committee are of the opinion of certifying the film with an adult rating with seven modifications. The remaining three members sensed that the minority community in the movie are shown in a very poor light.
The second revising committee unanimously agreed on certifying the film to adults subject to moderation of scenes of excessive and repeated atrocities shown.
Referring to the Chairman of the Board’s decision of referring to the second revising committee as illegal and a violation of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983 and HC noted that when five out of eight members of the revising committee approved the film with seven modifications, the Chairman had either option of accepting the recommendation or if Chairman disagrees with the majority decision of the committee, refer the matter to the Board for examination of the film.
Kerala High Court strikes down the order referring the movie to a second revising committee and the order certifying the film for public exhibition restricted to adults subject to moderation of scenes of excessive and repeated atrocities.
The Malayalam director also showed his strong objection against those who had celebrated the tragic demise of the first CDS General Bipin Rawat.
1921 Malabar genocide of Hindus
The Malabar genocide of 1921 was a campaign of Hindu genocide in Kerala. The genocide, orchestrated by the likes of Variankunnath Kunhamad Haji, Ali Musaliar and others, led to the death of 10,000 Hindus in Kerala. It also led to more than one lakh leaving Kerala in the wake of the massacre. Hundred of Hindu temples were destroyed in this genocide.