“SARKAR CHALLENGES SE NAHI, CHABUK SE CHALTI HAI”, an imposter of Sanjay Gandhi(Niel Nitin Mukesh) in the film, and we are thrown back to the darkest time in Indian political history: The Emergency which continued for 21 months in between 1975 to 1977. During this period, the public loses their fundamental rights and the police get the right to arrest anyone without trial. Apparently, Congress has been demanding for a ban on the release of Madhur Bhandarkar directed film that revolves around the happenings of Emergency. The director claims about the film being a work of fiction, where he has used references, which are considered as known truth.
Members of Indian Youth Congress are specifically protesting against the film citing it as funded to promote political agenda by the current government. They quote, it distorts the image of ex Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and her governance during the Emergency period. They even requested CBFC chief, Prahlaj Nihalani to ban the film to which he opposed.
Therefore, we decided to decode the trailer on the basis of factual significance of emergency period to find out the truth. It goes by like this:
Indira Gandhi is shown perpetuating political agenda in the trailer.
While the then government stated the reason for imposing emergency as internal disturbance of Draught, 1973 Oil debacle, and border tensions. The real reason was Allahabad High Court’s verdict on 12th June, 1971 Raibariely elections, where they convicted Indira Gandhi of mall practising election votes and took her voting rights for next 6 years. She amended the constitution in a manner that freed her from conviction.
Sanjay Gandhi is shown forcing mass sterilisation drive in the film.
There were innumerable reports of Sanjay Gandhi ordering the mass sterilisation drive, which was first considered a willful decision (manipulated by luring) and then there were reports of opposition leaders, and old citizens being forced to take part in the drive. The move was condemned by the UN and said to be against the human rights.
Jay Prakash (JP) Narayan is shown protesting & is put behind the bars.
When Indira Gandhi was convicted by the Allahabad High court, JP demanded her resignation. He had been protesting against the then governments since 1973, and focus on alleviating mass spread poverty, which wasn’t possible without special measures. He along with other leaders like Morarji Desai, LK Advani were arrested on the very night of commencement of emergency.
Censorship of Press is shown in the film.
Freedom of Speech from the press was curbed during the emergency period, where only Indian Express was bold enough to publish their edition with a blank first page. Many of the newspapers were shut down during this time. Also read the second headline in the then published newspaper.
Buildings Are Being Demolished In The Trailer
Another known fact about the emergency period is that the Congress government ordered demolition of several buildings.
Another major character in the film is of a girl (Kriti Kulhari) who fights against the system for her rights, and for ridding the nation from the curse of Article 356. The character seems a work of fiction and is inspired from real life protesters during the emergency period, and is a work of pure fiction.
We can clearly make out that the film is touching the soft spots, but it does it deserves to be banned for being loud and honest? Aren’t we bold enough to admit our mistakes, or to show what we believe in? Too many questions and one answer- Freedom of Expression. It’s on our fundamental rights. We wish to quote and end the talk with words from famous poet Ramdhari Dinkar, during this time and hope that the film releases without any protests.