The war of words between filmmaker Rakesh Sharma and actor and former Censor Board chairman Anupam Kher has gone a step further with Sharma uploading an eight-minute film clearing the air over when his documentary on Gujarat riots, 'Final Solution', had been given clearance.
Twice in the last one week, Kher had, on English news channels, taken the credit for having cleared the documentary without any cut and that too before the Congress-led UPA government had come to power in 2004.
"Anupam Kher has blatantly lied on national television while debating with Anand Patwardhan. After being caught out, he is now trying to brazen it out—not only has he failed to apologise to the viewers, he is now tweeting a link to one of the hundreds of audience of Q&A sessions I've had post-screening. People can now watch themselves through this video what lies he did utter on TV," said Sharma.
In one of the debates, Kher said that 'Final Solution' had been cleared before the Congress-led coalition government came to power. The short film reproduces the fact that the documentary on Gujarat riots was cleared in October 2004; the BJP-led NDA was no more in power then as the alliance had lost the elections in May 2004.
In the short film, Sharma says: "The ministry (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) got many complaints from Vikalp, a collective of documentary film-makers, about countrywide harassment by the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification)." In 2004, Kher was the chairman of the CBFC, and was sacked from the post on October 14, 2004.
Moreover, Kher has also taken the credit for having cleared the film without any cut, which Sharma opposes saying: "Final Solution was cleared by a special 5-6 member committee headed by Shyam Benegal and Kher was part of the committee."
According to Sharma, if Kher wants to claim credit for having cleared the film without any cut, does he also take the blame for banning the film earlier in 2004?
About 'Final Solution'
The documentary is on the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat with interviews of victims and families, as well as the exploitation of the Godhra incident during the Gujarat assembly elections for electoral gains. The movie was banned in India for almost a year, but the ban was lifted after sustained campaigns and protests.