Censor Board refuses to clear ‘Battle for Banaras’ because it ‘doesn’t show Modi in reverence’


India’s censor board has refused to give go-ahead to Kamal Swaroop’s documentary on the high-profile battle between Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 Loksabha elections.

The CBFC’s examining committee watched ‘Battle for Banaras’ on Thursday with four board members being present. They decided against the release of this film.

The CBFC chairman, Pahlaj Nihlani, whose appointment for this post recently had raised many eyebrows, has not watched the film.

” My officers told me that it’s a political satire. It speaks against all politicians and is pro-Kejriwal in the way it has been shot. The people who reviewed it are experienced enough to know what is right and wrong. They found the kind of language that has been used in the film absolutely unsuitable for public viewing. It is inflammatory and flouts the CBFC guidelines,” Nihlani was quoted as saying.

One of the office bearers of CBFC, Raju Vaidya, is verbally communicated their decision to K Venkataraman, associate producer of the film, who was present during the screening of the film by the CBFC bosses.

Meanwhile, Swaroop has defended his film saying that it was ‘strictly non-political and doesn’t take any sides.’

He said, “I have nothing to do with AAP or the BJP. It’s none of my business as a filmmaker. The film follows the festivities around the elections. I have observed the candidates fighting the election as a physical phenomenon.”

Swaroop had won a National Award for his film ‘Rangbhoomi’ in 2014. He said that the movie was screened at Montreal Film Festival and one of the reasons why the CBFC may have refused the go-ahead was because this film didn’t show ‘reverence to Modi.’ He’s decided to take the documentary to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal.

Nihlani’s appointment for the post of the CBFC chief had raised many eyebrows. He had confessed to be a big fan of Modi adding that ‘Narendra Modi is my action hero.’