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India: Non-state groups ban Bollywood film featuring homosexual relationship

4 March 2016

Aligarh movie
The Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC) and Aligarh city mayor Shakuntala Bharti have banned Bollywood film ‘Aligarh’ because of its homosexuality, which they believe will besmirch the reputation of the north Indian city, reported The Indian Express on 28 February 2016.

The MBMC further issued a letter to India’s information and broadcasting minister to have the name of the movie changed.

“We had issued a warning that we will not allow this film to be shown in the city at any cost,” Bharti said. “This movie is against our culture. It will bring a bad name to our city.”

However, district authorities have said there is no official ban imposed on the film and a senior police official said no cinema owner has contacted them to provide any security.

The film, which opened on 26 February 2016, was scheduled to screen in four cinemas in Aligarh, but all effectively buckled under the pressure of a public protest, save one cinema that screened the movie on opening night but pulled it the following day.

‘Aligarh’ is based on the true story of AMU professor Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras who was suspended in February 2010 from his job on charges of homosexuality related to a 2009 incident where he was filmed having sex with another man. Siras took the university to court and won his case in April 2010. A week later he was found dead in his apartment under suspicious circumstances.


Sources

» The Times of India – 3 March 2016:
HC dismisses plea to ban/change in name of ‘Aligarh’ movie

» A Delhi – 1 March 2016:
Aligarh movie: Controversial movie Aligarh banned in the city of Aligarh

» Hindustan Times – 29 February 2016:
Aligarh not banned, but town still uneasy about gay film

» The Indian Express – 28 February 2016:
No ban on ‘Aligarh’ film: District authorities

» The Indian Express – 28 February 2016:
Aligarh ‘banned’ in Aligarh, but there’s nothing official about it


Related information:

» Artsfreedom.org – 16 February 2016:
Six countries ban ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ film

» Artsfreedom.org – 12 February 2016:
India: Frustrations in film industry over censorship

» Artsfreedom.org – 21 January 2016:
India: Censor board’s ‘truly epic cuts’ to American movie

» Artsfreedom.org – 25 November 2015:
India: Board censors James Bond kissing scenes

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