Chennai, October 8 (NIA): The Madras High Court has upheld the decision of the Indian 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), 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.
Upholding the FCAT order on September 29, the court said the picture cannot be certified if it lowers the moral standards of those who see it or if it creates in the mind of the audience sympathy towards crime, towards wrongdoing or evil, LiveLaw.in reported.
“That apart, due regard should be had to the standards of the country and the people to which the story relates, and it shall not be so portrayed so as to deprave the morality of the audience. The prevailing laws shall not be ridiculed as to create sympathy for violation of such laws,” the court observed.
The court also observed that multiple tiers of authorities who viewed the film and heard the petitioner, had recorded a definite conclusion that in the film, there were derogatory references against the Sri Lankan Army and the Army men were depicted in poor light, which would strain the relationship between the two countries.
According to The Hindu ,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 friendly relations with the island nation.
This, after Director 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 upheld the appellate tribunal’s decision.
Family too objects
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 argued.
Dharmini told Chnnai-based Thanthi TV that the portrayal of episodes degraded Tamil culture and the Tamil struggle.
Ganeshan said that he was inspired to make a film about Isaipriya after he saw the UK’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’. He argued that his film was based on published facts. But Channel 4 apologized for showing shots of Isapriya being tortured and took them off the video.
“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,” Ganeshan added.