Leena Yadav’s critically-acclaimed film Parched which deals with the theme of women’s empowerment in rural India has offended some people in Gujarat. Gujarat’s Rabari community has filed a Public Interest Litigation, seeking a ban on the film, claiming that it shows the community in poor light. Reportedly, a few crew members have been getting calls from unknown people, threatening them of dire consequences if the film is not pulled out of the theatres.
A Deccan Chronicle report quoted Leena Yadav as saying, “Though the PIL was filed a day before our release, we’ve been receiving threats for weeks now. Our dialect specialist Nain Rana and my husband (cinematographer Aseem Bajaj, who is also the co-producer of Parched) have been getting threatening calls saying things like, ‘You don’t know what we can do. We’re a community of seven lakh people.’ They have been trying to reach me too but they don’t have my phone number. We are not giving in to any pressure tactics.”
The PIL was filed at the Gujarat High Court by Masarubhai Rinabhai Rabari, a 26-year-old agriculturist who is also the BJP General Secretary of Anjar taluka in Kutch district. In the PIL filed on 22 September, Rabari sought a complete ban on the movie claiming that “the movie is presented in [a] highly destructive, improper, inappropriate and offensive manner against the sentiments of his community.” The petitioner also objected to bold scenes and use of expletives in the movie.
In response to the PIL, the HC division bench issued notices to the three respondents and kept the case for further hearing on 27 September.
Although the film doesn’t mention any community or geographical location, it is apparently the costumes worn by the character played by Tannishta Chatterjee, that provoked the Rabari community. “”But is that enough to decide that we’ve in any way been disrespectful? We’ve received no notice as of now. Once we do, we will decide our course of action,” DC quoted Yadav.