Movie on JNU student agitation denied screening by ‘Censor’ Board

The movie Varthamanam set against the backdrop of students' protest at JNU early this year, has been denied screening due to ‘anti-national’ elements

Malayalam film Varthamanam

The Kerala regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), often dubbed ‘Censor’ Board, has rejected permission to screen the Malayalam film Varthamanam, citing concerns about its “anti-national”theme. The movie is written and produced by Congress leader Aryadan Shoukath and directed by Sidhartha Siva.

Though the Board has not mentioned any specific reason behind denying permission for Varthamanam, a BJP leader and advocate V Sandeep Kumar, who is also a member of the Board, tweeted that the film is critical of right-wing politics, according to the media.

In a now-deleted tweet, Sandeep Kumar, said that the theme of the film was anti-national. His tweet stated, “I saw the movie Varthamanam as a member of the censor board. The topic was the persecution of Dalits and Muslims in the JNU agitation. I opposed it. Because Aryadan Shoukath was the screenwriter and producer of the film. Of course, the theme of the film was anti-national.”

The award-winning script writer Aryadan, on the other hand, told the media that he would go to any extent to ensure that people watch the film. According to Business Standard, he explained the premise of the film that talks about a Muslim girl from Malappuram, who goes to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to pursue her PhD, researching the freedom fighter Mohammed Abdur Rahman Sahib.

He further stated that JNU is a campus where students are united to fight against the forces that try to destroy the spirit and unity of the country. So, naturally, she gets attracted to it and joins the student struggle. He also told the media that he spent close to three years on the research for the film. In that span of time, he has been to the university multiple times and has had conversations with a lot of prominent student leaders.

On December 27, Shoukath also heavily came down on Sandeep Kumar’s tweet on Facebook. The translated version read, “If a student on Delhi campus talks about the strike, how can it be anti-national when it talks about the democratic fight in India? Censor board member BJP leader Advocate V. Sandeep Kumar has mentioned everything in his tweet. He publicly announced that the Dalit and Muslim torture was the subject of the film and since the film’s script writer and Director was Aryadan Shoukath, he opposed the movie.”

The post also said, “We still live in India, a democratic, secular, socialist republic. Do we decide the status of a film’s release based on the screenwriter’s caste and creed? I cannot agree to the emergency in our cultural field.”




The CBFC has suggested a few cuts and the movie has now been sent to the revising committee of the Censor Board in Mumbai for certification this week itself. Violence had broken out at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on January 5 this year as masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers protesting the fee hike and the new citizenship laws, injuring at least 39 of them.  



JNU violence must be investigated by a judicial commission

What Exactly Happened in JNU ?



Related Articles