Attracting political ire

Quite a few films have managed to ruffle political feathers over the years. 'Dam 999' is the latest to join the gang

The film Dam 999 that was supposed to release this Friday has been courting trouble with the Tamil Nadu government.

Dam 999 (2011)

Now, the DMK party has raised the same issue in the Lok Sabha parliamentary session on Thusday, in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi,  apparently suggesting a blanket ban on the film across the country.

The film is apparently a fictionalised version of the long-standing Mullaperiyar dam controversy. The party has complained that Dam 999 is based on an issue over which the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments are locked in a legal tussle.

Aarakshan (2011)

Says a distraught director Sohan Roy, "The film may not release in India because the AIDMK, DMK and even the BJP have placed a combined appeal to stall the release. My film is about a dam in colonial India and the possibility of it collapsing.
The movie speaks for over 4000 dams (each 100-year-old) across the globe that urgently need to be rebuilt. Or else the repercussions would be devastating.

My Name is Khan (2009)

The government believes that 999 in the title stands for the 999-year lease agreement between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. But in fact, in the film the number stands for the date when the new dam is built (9-9-2009)."

The fact that Roy wants to support the same cause was also brought to light through his award-winning documentary Dams- The Lethal Water Bombs that highlighted the problems behind the Mullaperiyar reconstruction

Black Friday (2004)

Adds Roy, "We showed the documentary to everyone in the Kerala government responsible for this issue. But despite that, no measures have been taken."

Rumours about Dam 999 been funded by the Kerala government, has also created tension between the two states.

The director adds, "Now when my film is complete, they are trying to sabotage the release constituting it as something that will create tension between the two states. Nobody wants to address the issue and when we tried talking about it through the documentary, nobody took any substantial measures."

The director maintains that the film doesn't hurt the Tamil sentiments. However if it faces a ban, they will have little choice but to head to the Supreme Court. Kerala Chief Minister Ommen Chandy and other leaders have called for a screening of the film today to evade more trouble.

What is the Mullaperiyar dam controversy?
The Mullaperiyar, a 115-year-old dam in Kerala, is being run by the Tamil Nadu government, on the basis of a pre-Independence lease agreement. This agreement expired in 2000. The dam, which has developed cracks over the years, is now apparently in no state to withstand the water pressure, hence putting the lives of over 25 lakh people in danger. However, no agreement has been passed on the reconstruction.

Films that created a political storm
Aarakshan- 2011
My Name is Khan- 2009
Fanaa- 2006
Water- 2005
Black Friday- 2004
Fire- 1996
Kama Sutra: Tale of love- 1996
Kutrapathirikkai (Tamil)- 1991
Sikkim- 1971
Kissa Kursi Ka- 1970
Nine Hours to Rama (English)- 1963
Neel Akasher Neechey (Bengali)- 1959

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