'Rajneeti' scene-cuts reminds Jaitley of Emergency

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) By allegedly forcing deletions in Prakash Jha's film "Rajneeti", the Congress had resorted to moral policing and harked back to the Emergency era when "Aandhi" was banned and reels of "Kissa Kursi Ka" were burnt, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said Saturday.

Referring to the episode of deletion of certain scenes from "Rajneeti" apparently following objections by the Congress, Jaitley, a former minister for information and broadcasting wrote in his blog: "Moral policing has been rapped repeatedly by many in the electronic and print media. Curiously, the crusaders against moral policing have mostly maintained eloquent silence on the political policing by the ruling party."

Jaitley compared this to the 21-month Emergency period between June 25 1975 and March 21 1977, chronicling incidents of bans and deletions on films like "Aandhi", "Kissa Kursi Ka" and "All the President's Men".

"The Congress party believed that the leading actress (in 'Aandhi') had a character similar to the then prime minister...it was banned in July 1975," Jaitley said in his blog.

He said that after the producer cut out certain scenes and restructured it, the film was cleared to release and another film on the Watergate episode titled "All the President's Men" was blocked during the time and released after the Congress was voted out of power in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. The reels of the film "Kissa Kursi Ka" were burnt.

Jaitley also wrote about bans on notable celebrities like Kishore Kumar, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar during the Emergency period further asserting Congress party's alleged forced deletion of certain scenes from the soon to be released film "Rajneeti" in order to obtain a U/A certification.

Congress is said to have "threatened" the film with an adult certification.

Congress has, however, denied any interference with the certification of the film.

Media reports, however, suggested that the censor board sent the movie to "a super censor" for clearance before certifying it and that the censor board chief Sharmila Tagore herself suggested the names of the three Congress representatives - Tom Vadakkan, Pankaj Sharma and Sanjeev Bhargava to review the film.

"Rajneeti" stars an ensemble cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai and will hit the cinemas next week.

"In the last few years," he wrote to end his blog "we have seen an effort of politicizing the Election Commission through partisan appointments. The CBI has become a political tool. The parliament has recently expressed concern over both authorized and unauthorized telephone tapping. The Congress party now has become a national censor of what entertainment we will watch. I hope the list of aberrations does not continue to increase".