Creativity vs. Controversy: Ban lifted on Jodhaa Akbar

jodhaa1.jpgAshutosh Gowarikar’s historical movie Jodhaa Akbar, which was banned in various states across India, will finally light up the screens. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the movie till March 14. The movie which sparked off a number of controversies on various issues was initially banned in Rajastan, Jodhaa’s home state. Following this, several states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and most recently, Uttar Pradesh had banned the screening of the movie. However, it seems that the makers of this grand epic have some temporary relief from the apex court’s decision. The producer of the film had earlier filed a petition and now, a Bench comprising the Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan has allowed the film to be screened at least till the hearing goes on. Does the interim order reflect a triumph of ‘the creative’ over ‘the controversial’? Importantly, most of the voices which were raised against this movie claimed that it had got its facts wrong. Some claimed that Jodhaa was in fact Salim’s wife and subsequently Akbar’s daughter-in-law while others raised their eyebrows over the authenticity of the political events that the movie depicts. Though the makers claim to have done their research, this did not stop various states from banning the film. Questions of authenticity aside, this issue has once again proved a dangerous tendency of our country – that of intolerance. We should remember that history is, after all, a version of the past and will differ from source to source, expert to expert. The charm of the subject lies partly in the fact that we can never go back and check what actually had happened. The intolerance and violence which greeted the release of this movie shows that w have not yet acquired the maturity to accept this. At the end of the day, it is a movie which has been approved by the Central Board of Film Certification. It, therefore, has the right to be released all across the country. Whether people accept it or reject it is entirely a different matter. Therefore, this decision by the apex court must be understood with all its implications. The country’s judiciary has intervened to ensure that creativity does not fade away due to needless controversies. Temporary though it may be, it will at least provide an opportunity to the people of these states to judge the film on the basis of its production, instead of being led away by irresolvable differences. Ipshita Ghosh

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