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    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 33, Dated 20 Aug 2011
  • 'If they don’t show us the film, we will create trouble'
  • RPI(A) president Ramdas Athawale tells Prakhar Jain that Aarakshan should not be allowed to derail the reservation policy
  • Ramdas Athawale

    RPI(A) president Ramdas Athawale

  • Why are you opposing Aarakshan?
    People from all walks of life, be it Brahmins, Marathas, Rajputs or Jats, are demanding reservations. Those castes that don’t come under the reservation ambit are also clamouring for it. Babasaheb Ambedkar demanded reservations only for Dalits because they were backward. However, due to price rise and the prevalence of donation system in educational institutions, people are wondering why it is only Dalits who should get reservation. Reservations should also be given to upper castes. Everyone should get quotas. That is why we demanded that Prakash Jha’s movie Aarakshan be shown to us. If it is pro-reservation, we will support it. But if it propagates the ideology of haves and have-nots when the momentum for reservation is only building, then there are chances of disturbances in society. That said, Prakash Jha has not agreed to show us the film. He says why should he screen it for free.
  • The Censor Board has cleared the film without any cuts. Four members from the backward community too were present during the screening. Then why are you opposing the film?
    We don’t know who those four persons were. What if they had shown the film to four men who are totally ignorant? It is not necessary that the Censor Board is always right. Our concern is that the positive environment towards reservation should not be disturbed by a film. That is why we said that if Aarakshan supports reservation then we will also back the film.
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  • But just on the basis of the movie’s promo, your party workers barged into Prakash Jha’s office and vandalised it. Why did your party resort to hooliganism?
    Prakash Jha has expressed his thoughts through the film. We don’t have a problem if he wants to bring out the positive aspects. We respect him for his earlier movies like Rajneeti and Gangaajal. But he refused to screen Aarakshan to us. He has done that many times before.
  • Aren’t you going the Shiv Sena way by using muscle power to express your discontent without any respect for law?
    If somebody wants to protest, what else can they do? As I am away from Mumbai, I don’t know much about them (the protests) but we have appealed to the people to express their emotions peacefully.
  • Isn’t it all a political gimmick to garner votes in the civic body elections of 2012?
    Not at all. We are doing this for the sake of society, not for any political advantage.
  • Ambedkar’s grandson says political opposition to the film is just a publicity stunt.
    If that’s the thing, then we can raise many issues for the sake of publicity. But, we are doing this to strengthen society, not to gain any mileage. We want reservations to be extended to everyone. If the film is good, it will succeed.
  • The Madras High Court had stayed the release of Aarakshan for non-payment of dues, but a compromise was reached. Will you also consider legal action?
    It would have been good if its release had been stayed. It would have given Prakash Jha more time to talk to us and take a decision on when to show us the film. If compromises can be made, then we don’t have a problem. But unless this controversy is resolved, the film shouldn’t be screened. The release date should be postponed by at least 15-20 days. If they don’t show us the film, then my people will create trouble in all the theatres. We have also told theatre owners not to screen the film until we grant clearance to it.
  • Baba Umar is a Correspondent with Tehelka.
    [email protected]

  • SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 33, Dated 20 Aug 2011



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