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Madras HC bans film on slain LTTE news presenter Isaipriya

The Madras High Court has upheld the decision of the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) to deny certification to Bengaluru-based filmmaker K. Ganeshan’s Tamil film Porkalathil Oru Poo (A flower in a battlefield). The film’s script is based on the life of slain LTTE journalist Isaipriya, who was allegedly raped and killed by the Sri Lankan armed forces during the final stages of the civil war in 2009.

Originally, in May 2015, the Central Board for Film Certification had refused to clear the film for screening. Later, in August last year, the FCAT denied certification for the film holding that it was replete with terrorism, violence, sexual perversions and degradation of women, reflecting adversely on the Sri Lankan administration and army, and is therefore likely to affect the friendly relations with the island nation. This, after Mr. Ganeshan agreed to make some cuts and mute certain dialogues in the film.

The filmmaker moved the court challenging the FCAT’s decision. However, by an order dated September 29, Justice T.S. Sivagnanam has upheld the appellate tribunal’s decision.

Incidentally, Vetharanjani and Dharmini Vahisan, mother and sister of Isaipriya respectively, were also opposed to the release of the movie. “Isaipriya has been portrayed as a militant. The theme of the movie is entirely based on family members and they are the characters in the film. It is petitioner’s own creation and imaginary commercial story and he has done so only for the personal gain,” they had argued.

Ganeshan, who said that he was inspired to make a film about Isaipriya after he saw the Channel 4 documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, argued that his film was based on published facts. “I tried a lot to make sure that Isaipriya’s mother and sister watched the movie. I even went to England with the film; but it didn’t happen,” he claimed.

The filmmaker admitted that he was ready to make changes to ensure that the film was cleared. “According to the suggestion made by the CBFC and FCAT, I reduced the duration of the sexual assault scenes in the climax by six minutes. They also wanted me to remove (Tamil Nadu Chief Minister) Jayalalithaa’s speech about a resolution related to Sri Lanka which runs for 18 seconds in the beginning of the film, which I didn’t accept,” he said.

“I had even said that I will remove the claim ‘based on true events’ and even change the names of the character. Still, it didn’t work,” Mr. Ganeshan added.(The Hindu)
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