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FTII Students Say Kabir Kala Manch Documentary Cancelled After Right-wing Pressure

FTII Students' Association said the documentary, made by Harishankar Nachimuthu, a final year student at the institute was cancelled due to pressure from Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

PTI

Updated:September 6, 2018, 8:51 PM IST
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FTII Students Say Kabir Kala Manch Documentary Cancelled After Right-wing Pressure
File photo of Film and Television Institute of India campus in Pune.
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Pune: A students' body claimed on Thursday that screening of a documentary about controversial group Kabir Kala Manch at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) here was cancelled under pressure from a right wing group.

The FTII administration denied the charge, saying the screening was cancelled for reasons such as lack of a censor certificate and failure to give advance intimation about the public screening.

Some members of the Manch, a cultural group, have been under the police scanner for alleged Maoist links.

FTII Students' Association said the documentary, made by Harishankar Nachimuthu, a final year student at the institute, was to be screened on Thursday, but the screening was cancelled by the FTII administration citing security reasons.

It was cancelled due to pressure from Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), BJP's students' wing, it alleged.

The ABVP denied the claim. "We are not aware of this issue," a functionary of the organisation told PTI.

FTII Director Bhupendra Kainthola said the student did not apply in advance to book the main theatre for screening.

"The first screening of a student's film is normally only for internal viewing and assessment, and not for general public, as various pre-requisites like CBFC (censor board) certificate, logistics etc have to be met before outside public is invited for screening," he said.

The allegation that the FTII cancelled the screening under pressure from a particular organisation was "so preposterous and baseless that replying to it would lend dignity to it", Kainthola, an Indian Information Service officer of 1989 batch, said in a statement.

Nachimuthu publicised the screening schedule on social media keeping the (FTII) authorities in the dark", he said.

The Association said the content of the documentary had been scrutinised and approved by FTII faculty members.

"The Manch is not a bannedorganisation and the public performances documented in the film had happened with the police permission," the students' body said.

The songs featuring in the documentary are about Dr B R Ambedkar's principles and not about Maoism, it said. The Manch was one of the organisers of the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31. Police have registered an FIR alleging that speeches made at the event led to violence at Koregaon-Bhima near Pune the next day.

The documentary, titled Hora ('prophecy' in Marathi) was made a year ago, Nachimuthu said. "It is not on the Manch, but about an artist from the group and how she looks at the Ambedkarite movement," he said.

He is a former president of the Association which organised a 139-day-long strike at the institute in 2015 against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman.
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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