'Varthamanam', a film on the 2020 agitations on the Jawaharlal Nehru campus, starring Parvathy Thiruvoth and directed by Siddhartha Siva, has run into controversy with the Central Board of Film Certification refusing to allow the movie to be screened.
Parvathy plays a research student who goes to JNU to do research on a freedom fighter and then becomes caught up in the attack that occurred on January 5.
Accusing the board of putting politics before art, scriptwriter Aryadan Shoukath had posted a now-deleted tweet by Advocate V Sandeep Kumar, a member of the censor board which claims the film to be "anti-national".
"As a member of the Censor Board, I saw the movie Varthamanam. The theme was the persecution of Muslims and Dalits in the JNU agitation," Adv. Kumar had tweeted. "I opposed it. Because Arydan Shoukath was its scriptwriter and producer. Of course, the theme of the film was anti-national."
Shoukath, who is also a member of the Congress party, alleged that the Film Board was now appointing members with no basic knowledge of filmmaking, also pointing out that Adv. Kumar was the state vice-president of the BJP SC Morcha.
"We are still living in India which is a democratic, secular and socialist country," Shoukath wrote in his post on Facebook.
"Is it based on the clan and race of the scriptwriter that a film is given a nod for screening? The undeclared emergency situation in the cultural sector is unacceptable."
In a statement to PTI the scriptwriter said that the CBFC had said that the film would be sent to the revising committee in Mumbai this week but no reason had been given for the lack of certification. He lamented the fact that the delay meant that the movie could not be submitted for award consideration.
The JNU protests this year ignited political controversy as over 30 masked men entered the campus, destroying public property and injuring 39 students and staff members. Despite one of the masked assailants being identified as a woman member of the Akhila Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) party which is the student wing affiliated to the BJP, no arrests have been made yet.