By Subhash K. Jha, Apr 8, 2016 – 10:30 hrs IST
Censor board member Dr Chandraprakash Diwedi’s highly controversial film Mohalla Assi which pokes savage fun at the commercialization of the Holy city of Varanasi, has been banned by censor board.
Interestingly the film’s lurid, trailer laced with the most colourful Hindi expletives and cuss words, mouthed by actors with a sober image like Sunny Deol and Sakshi Tanwar had been “leaked” on the internet long before the film was submitted for certification. The full feature film with some of the shocking language heard in recent times was also “leaked” on the internet long before the film was submitted to the censor board.
Finally Mohalla Assi has been shown to the Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) and banned. Apparently Mohalla Assi evoked extreme reactions from conservative elements in the censor board.Mohalla Assi based on the well-known novel by Hindi litterateur Kashinath Singh is a scathing critique on the touristic commercialization of the Holy city of Varanasi. In the film Sunny Deol plays a self-righteous priest fighting against the ecological and moral pollution of Varanasi. The film’s all-pervasive mood seems to have infected Deol. Never known to use even a single profanity in his entire career, Deol is heard calling himself a ‘ch***ya’ in the trailer and commenting on the rampant “guru-shishya ke naam pe pela peli” (screwing in the grab of teacher-pupil.) in Varanasi.
Worse still and potentially blasphemous are the references to Lord Shiva who is seen appearing in Sunny Deol’s dream and berating the bhakt, “Bhosri-ke, tu meri sunega ya logon ki?”
In fact the extremely abusive Hindi term “bhosri ke” is equated with the chant ‘Har Har Mahadev’ in the trailer. We hear veteran actor Rajendra Gupta saying that the two go hand-in-hand in Varanasi.
The film, and it’s extremely provocative trailer is filled with abusive references to tourists. At one point when Ravi Kissan who plays a tourist guide brings a Caucasian paying guest home to Sakshi Tanwar, she refers to female tourists as “randiyan” (whores).
In a scene in the trailer a local woman tells Sakshi Tanwar how female tourists complain, “Yahan bahot garmi hai”
Sakshi, “Kahan? Varanasi mein?
“Nahin donon tango ke beech mein (between the legs),” replies the woman.
This image of Varanasi as a tourist-challenged infiltration-weary city is unlikely to go down well with the current government. Incidentally the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi fought and won the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi.