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Can 'Deshdrohi' pass the acid test?
Film Deshdrohi's release has been deferred for a week amidst protests led by MNS on the ground that the film tries to cash in on the existing controversial situation in Mumbai pertaining to anti north Indian campaign led by Raj Thackeray and MNS.
MAHARASHTRA NAVNIRMAN Sena (MNS) has got yet another issue at its hand - this time it is a film that is on their target. A film named ‘Deshdrohi’ based on the rendezvous of a north Indian youth with harsh realities and regional discriminations in the city of Mumbai has irked the MNS activists. They feel that the film is an attack on MNS and Marathis residing in Mumbai and they won’t allow the film to release unless their demands are met.

’Deshdrohi - the traitor’ is basically a movie, as claimed by the producers of the movie and evident in the promos, about a man from Bihar who comes to Mumbai with lots of dreams but eventually gets involved in a fight with anti-social elements and succumbs to death. He goes through a hell when he is abused, beaten up, and even politically manipulated.

However, it is being accused by the protestors that the makers of the film have tried to cash in on the existing controversial situation in Mumbai pertaining to anti north Indian campaign led by Raj Thackeray and his party MNS. They are of the opinion that Deshdrohi has adopted the cheap tactics of cashing in on the anti-immigrant controversy brewing in Maharashtra over sometime.

The film was slated for release on November 7, but due to mass protests and expectations of violence, the release has been deferred till November 14. MNS officials and activists had threatened of dire consequences if the film was released with objectionable scenes and dialogues.

In the mean time, Mumbai police has decided to have a look at the movie to find out if there was any objectionable content in the movie that could trigger mass unrest. In that context, the police served a notice to Kamaal Khan- the writer, producer and actor of the film to arrange for a special screening of the film for police. It is believed that the police and MNS officials would collectively watch the movie and reach a conclusion.

On the other hand, Kamaal Khan said that it is a mere coincidence that his film bears what has been going on in Mumbai at present. He said that when he shot the movie, it wasn’t so and he had long back completed the film and it was pending for clearance from the censor board. He said that the film deals with the story of the protagonist from Bihar who struggles to free himself from the troubles inflicted upon him for being a north Indian and also depicts the influence of politics in it.

Khan has assured that there is nothing objectionable in the film and he has modified dialogues as per the instructions of the censor board. The film deals with problems faced by north Indians in Mumbai and the subject of the film bearing similarity with the anti-north Indian campaign unleashed by Raj Thackeray is a mere coincidence. One more controversial angle in the film is its climax, which bears resemblance with the famous Rahul Raj encounter. The protagonist of the film is also brought to death in an encounter.

It is said that films are the mirror of society and the contents are mere dramatic representation of the same. What film deals is the reality that has been existent in Mumbai for quite some time now. Violent confrontation between immigrants and locals in India’s financial capital is not a new development. Some decades back, Raj Thackeray’s uncle Balasaheb Thackeray made his political foothold in Maharashtra by raising anti south Indian campaign. ’Deshdrohi’ has in a way tried to depict the hardships of immigrants in Mumbai.

Whether this film ever gets released or would be thrown in the dumps to bite dust is a different matter. But can’t we Indians rise up from condemnable regionalism and communalism. Unless and until each and every citizen rises to the cause, the political nuisances are bound to raise heads and play with the sentiments of people in the name of caste, religion, and region. ‘Deshdrohi’ could be termed as a bold step to bring the reality to the fore.

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