Another film has fallen prey to casteism and this time its the National Film Awards winning Marathi film Dashakriya. Centred on the Brahmin community, a caste considered elite in the Indian society, the film has irked right-wing groups as they allege that it shows the community in a poor light. The Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasabha in Pune has cancelled the film’s release in the city, objecting to the portrayal of Brahmins. The film was supposed to hit the screens on November 17.
Based on a 1994 novel by Baba Bhand, the film deals with the cremation rituals performed by the Kirvants who are a lowly sub-caste of the Brahmin community. The film shows how a few Kirvants exploit the emotions of a bereaved family to satiate their greed. Interestingly, the Mahasabha or any other Brahmin group did not protest when the censor board passed the film with ‘U’ certificate and when the novel was published more than two decades ago.
While speaking to a leading daily, Anand Dave, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasabha said,
We are determined to not permit screening of the film as it has hurt sentiments of the Brahmin community. It wrongly depicts Hindu traditions by portraying Brahmins as those who perform the last rites solely for commercial gains.
He further added that they have written to the Pune Police Commissioner and warned that their members would launch a state-wide agitation to halt the film’s release.
Dave also said,
The ritual of performing last rites of forefathers is followed by every religion and community. It is a part of worship. But only Hindu beliefs are wrongfully targeted. We will not tolerate this.
Govind Kulkarni, a member of the ABBM also said,
We met with a number of theatre owners across the State and many, including City Pride and Mangala Talkies, have accepted to our request and cancelled advance bookings of the film.
He also informed that some theatres in Jalgaon and Aurangabad districts, as well as in parts of Mumbai, like Virar and Nala Sopara, have agreed to their demand.
Meanwhile, pro-Maratha Sambhaji Brigade, a political organization known for its the anti-Brahmin views, has termed the ABBM’s attitude as regressive. Lending support to Dashakriya, Santosh Shinde of Sambhaji Brigade said,
We urge the State government to show Dashakriya tax free.
The film has won National Awards for Best Feature Film in Marathi, Best Supporting Actor to Manoj Joshi and Best Screenplay.
Sandip Patil, the director, had earlier invited Mahasabha’s members to watch the film ahead of its release, but his invitation was turned down. While talking to an English daily, Patil expressed his disappointment over the film’s protest. He said,
If I had to have a separate screening for right-wing groups like these, then why do we even have a censor board? If such parallel censor boards come up in every other street, then it will be a very dangerous situation for the Maharashtra film industry and the entire film industry.
This is not the first time that a film has faced objection to the portrayal of certain communities. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati ahead of its release is facing protest from various Rajput groups as well as politicians.
Check out the trailer of Dashakriya here:
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