Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s controversial film MSG: The Messenger of God will soon hit theatres after it secured a conditional clearance from the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) Friday.
The film, however, will have to carry two 60-second-long disclaimers — both at the beginning and at the end — saying that it is a fictional account and that none of the characters portrayed in it have powers to perform miracles or magic, government sources told The Indian Express. The disclaimers will also have to spell out clearly that the film is not against any community. Also, the FCAT has directed the makers of the film to remove a few dialogues from the film where the Dera chief is being called or referred to as God, sources added.
“Following the FCAT approval, the film will now be issued a Censor Board certification and will be allowed to release with the prescribed disclaimers,” a source said. “One of the main opposition against the film was the charge that its content will deal a blow to scientific temper. The disclaimers will take care of that,” the source added.
After Central Board of Film Certification chief Leela Samson, another board member Ira Bhaskar has decided to resign over the state of affairs in the running of the statutory body. Bhaskar, a professor of cinema studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, said she will send in her resignation by Friday night.
Meanwhile, the resignation of CBFC chief triggered a sharp response from the government, with Minister of State Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore questioning why Samson had chosen to not speak about corruption during her tenure and was talking now when her term was ending.
“Show us if we told you to do this or that,” Rathore said in response to Samson’s allegations about interference in the Censor Board’s functioning. “You cannot make vague accusations at the end of your tenure,” he said. “We have respected the Censor Board all along. In fact when the issue of the previous film came up, we respected the decision of the Censor Board… When this particular film has come into discussion, the Censor Board would realise that when an appeal is made in FCAT, the final decision lies with FCAT,” he added.
Countering Samson’s charge of “coercion”, the MoS said, “The chairperson talks about coercion, we as the government would like to see that SMS, or a letter where she or any other member has been coerced. Then we would take appropriate action.”
Rathore said the CBFC chairperson was herself part of the selection process that selected a particular officer who was later arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe. Responding to Samson’s charge that the Censor Board had not met for over nine months as the I&B Ministry did not have funds, Rathore again said that he would like to see that letter wherein she has requested for any board meeting in the last one year.