Censor Board denies certificate to “Flames of the Snow”

Board says, film justifies Maoist ideology ….

Indian Censor Board has refused to certify ‘Flames of the Snow’, a documentary on Nepal, for public screening. The Board feels that the film ‘tells about Maoist movement in Nepal and justifies its ideology.’ It feels that ‘keeping in view the recent Maoist violence in some parts of the country’, the permission of its public screening can not be given. Produced under the joint banner of ‘GRINSO’ and ‘Third World Media’, the 125 minute film has been produced by Anand Swaroop Verma, a senior journalist and expert on Nepalese affairs. He has also written the script for the film. The film has been directed by Ashish Srivastava.

Reacting to the decision of the Board, Mr. Verma said it is quite surprising as the film does not have any reference at all to the current Maoist movement in India. The film is only about the struggle of the people of Nepal against the despotic Monarchy and the anarchic reign of Ranas. With the formation of Nepal in the year 1770 by Prithvi Narayan Shah, the foundation was laid for Monarchy in Nepal which was finally given a burial in the year 2008 when Nepal was declared a Republic. Thus 238 years of Monarchy also included 105-year rule of Rana dynasty which is known as the black chapter in the history of Nepal.

Talking about the film, Mr. Verma further said that the film actually shows how in 1876 Lakhan Thapa, a young man from Gorkha district organized the peasants against the atrocities being unleashed by the rulers of Rana dynasty and was, later, put on gallows by these rulers. Even today, Lakhan Thapa is remembered as the first Nepali martyr. Exploring the movements led by ‘Praja Parishad’ and ‘Nepali Congress’ against the despotic system, the film focuses on the armed struggle carried on under the leadership of the Maoists for 10 years and unfolds the story of how the movement mobilized the Nepalese people by first attacking and dismantling the feudal system in the rural areas and subsequently taking the people’s movement to the urban areas bringing more urbanites into its fold.

The film begins with the establishment of monarchy in Nepal, further touching the developments like the elections for the constituent assembly, the emergence of Maoists as the largest party in the elections and finally ends by showing the decline and complete disappearance of Monarchy and Nepal being declared a Republic.

Taking note of the objections put forward by the Censor Board, it seems that the Board will never give its certification to any political film made on Nepal since no political film on Nepal can escape underlying the prominent role of Maoists. Maoist party was heading the government in Nepal till May 2009 and even today is the largest party in the Constituent Assembly and is the main opposition party. Moreover its president Pushp Kamal Dahal ‘Prachand’ as the Prime Minister of Nepal had visited India on the invitation of the Government of India.

Mr Verma is now submitting his film to Revising Committee of the Board.

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