The Censor Board has edited out a 'Free Tibet' scene from Imtiaz Ali's film that reflected the popular sentiment of the people
While Imitiaz Ali's Rockstar has been mired in controversy over showing the Tibetan flag and 'Free Tibet' slogan in the backdrop of one of its song Sadda Haq, the Censor Board's move to edit out the scene has invited the ire of Tibetans across the country.
Dorjee Tseten and Tenzin Tsundue
In a meet held at the Press Club in Mumbai yesterday, members of the Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), India chapter and well-known Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue expressed their disapproval and discontent over the censor move.
Said Tsundue, "In a meeting with Pankaja Thakur, Censor Board CEO and JP Singh, regional officer, we were told that any material, which can create a strain between India and its neighbouring countries can be edited out.
But, the director of the movie had clearly stated that Rockstar isn't a political film, so we fail to understand the relevance of the edit. The censor folk, in fact, told us that the director had voluntarily agreed to delete the scene."
According to Dorjee Tseten of SFT India, this act has deeply hurt Tibetan sentiments. "The dream of free Tibet has been nurtured in India.
In fact we were really excited that for the first time a Bollywood movie was about to bring the Tibetan message to the fore. There were hundereds of people who had gathered at Dharamsala when this song was shot. Lekin ab unhe bahut thes pahuche hai isse," said Tseten.
Activists said that this issue has erupted particularly at a time when Tibetan monks at different places have been carrying out acts of self-immolation to highlight the crisis. "On Thursday we received news that a monk had set himself on fire in Kathmandu. At this hour we need support from India," said Tsundue.
As a mark of protest the activists said that they would be carrying Tibetan flags during the premieres of the movie and at various theatres. "We will also organise protests across different states against this move," said Tsundue.