Anupam Kher in war of words with Gujarat riots director

The documentary ‘The Final Solution’ based on the communal riots that tore Gujarat apart in 2002, has caught its director Rakesh Sharma in a war of words against Anupam Kher. The popular actor has been accused of stalling the clearance of the documentary as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Kher headed CBFC from October, 2003 to October, 2004. According to reports, Sharma has alleged that the veteran actor put obstructions to the release of his documentary ‘The Final Solution’, and that it could only reach audience after the UPA government was voted to power in 2004.

Sharma was reportedly quoted by a news channel as saying, “‘The Final Solution’ was cleared when the UPA was in power, and not under NDA. Kher’s regime as Censor Board chief was the worst as he has feudal mindset.”

Sharma also alleged that Kher and his team went ahead and had the film banned and then when the regime changed, the film was cleared without any cuts under a panel headed by noted director Shyam Benegal.

Reportedly Kher said, “If as he (Sharma) claims it was cleared under UPA does it mean the Congress sponsored the film? Is Sharmila Tagore a Congress supporter just because UPA appointed her? It’s only on merit we are selected.”

Incidentally, Sharmila Tagore, a leading actor of the 1960s and 1970s, succeeded Kher as the chairperson of CBFC in 2004.

According to a news channel report, Kher credited the attack on him for stopping the release of ‘The Final Solution’ as a response to his decision to back Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. “Don’t make me feel guilty for backing Modi. One doesn’t become pro-Hindu or pro-Hindutva simply because one thinks Modi is a good leader,” Kher was quoted by NDTV.

In a series of tweets in the early hours on Sunday morning, Kher reportedly wrote, “People like Rakesh Sharma have their own agendas. But this time he stands exposed. Let him produce d proof tat I did’t pass his documentary. Pseudo Seculars r cowards. They rely on lies. They are frightened people who hide behind agendas. God save our country from such people.”

Kher claimed his stand and said that he, along with other members of the censor board were behind clearing the film, and that Sharma had also thanked him for it.