Mumbai: A Marathi film featuring the renowned filmmaker, actor, writer and playwright Girish Karnad, who passed away on Monday, is languishing, pending clearance from the censor board.
Marathi cinema fans will recall his performance in the Jabbar Patel-directed 'Umbartha', one of the two Marathi films he has acted in. A few years ago, he had acted in another film, 'Sargam', which is stuck with the censor board. Karnad has played the main role in the film, which also stars model-and-actor Disha Pardeshi.
'Sargam', directed by Shiv Kadam, has Karnad playing a wealthy businessman who renounces the material world and begins life anew in the jungle. The film has run into trouble "because most of the committee members were non-Marathi speaking and they had trouble with certain words and the depiction of animals, for which stock shots have been used," according to the producer, M K Dhumal.
"There was only one Marathi-speaking committee member, while the others did not understand simple words that were used by us and objected to these, saying they were offensive.
We have said 'Adivasi', which is not a slur. In fact, we have an adivasi vikas mantri, and they wanted this term removed. Worse still, the stock shots of animals we have used do not require an animal certificate from the central ministry, that is a censor rule; yet they demanded we get the certificate," said a rather miffed Dhumal.
The last straw was giving the film an 'adult' certificate, which the film maker and producer had opposed. The producer has already spent Rs 1.5 crore and the film lies canned at the moment.
"Karnadji listened to the story and immediately signed on because he liked the concept of how urban children, when neglected by their parents, fail to acquire values, unlike their tribal counterparts, who are simple and survive.
The censor board has been insisting on giving the film an 'A' certificate, even as Karnad wanted the film to be viewed by a large audience. We don't want an A certificate, it defeats the purpose," said Dhumal.
Karnad's passing has left a void in the film and theatre industry and, in no small measure, for the Sargam team. He had been unwell for the last few months and the team was aware of the fact. But they were sure he would pull through.
In fact, his co-star in the film, Disha, wrote on her Facebook wall, "A man must commit a crime at least once in his life time. Only then his virtue be recognised. - Girish Karnad.
Your contribution to the Theatre and Indian Cinema will never be forgotten. I feel very lucky and overwhelmed that I had a chance to learn from you and work with you Girish Sir."