Free speech Tracker|
|Hindu outfit stages protest against play on M F Husain|
The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) continued its smear campaign against late painter M F Husain on Monday and staged a silent protest outside Nehru Centre, the venue of a biographical play on the painter titled Pencil se Brush Tak (The journey from a pencil to a brush). The play is the opening act for the centre’s 15th theatre festival which ends on September 26.
While the Hindu outfit continued to echo that “the painter was unapologetic of depicting denigration of Hindu deities”, the organisers and the cast of the play maintained that “objectionable portions were removed and the play was simply biographical in nature”.
In 2009, a few changes were made to the play on HJS’s objection after it was staged at Prithvi Theatre. The outfit has lodged a total of 1,250 complaints against Husain across the country.
Juhi Babbar from Ekdoot Production, which is hosting the play, confirmed receiving an e-mail from the organisation, but said, “The play has got a certificate from the Censor Board and also has a performance licence. We have all the permissions required to stage the play. There is nothing controversial in this play and we are perfectly alright if the organisation wants to stage a silent protest.”
Actor Anup Soni, who has a part in the play, added the members of HJS were shown the play in 2009 and there were no more changes made since then. “We bring the life of a painter and his interesting years. There is so much to learn, right from his birth in Pandharpur.”
Satish Sawhney, chief executive at Nehru Centre, confirmed meeting with the outfit. “I told them we live in a democracy where a performance that is backed legally has a right to be staged. They too can protest against the play as long as they do it democratically. Everybody has a right of opinion and a right to ensure that it is heard.
We ensured they get a visible place where a reasonable number of protestors can gather. They have been told to use placards to communicate and not obstruct anyone who wishes to watch the play.”
He added, “To my knowledge, there was nothing objectionable in the play. The scenes and the paintings were innocuous. The paintings were in the painter’s peculiar style and the scenes were interpretation from the Ramayan, just like Ramleela.” The local police also confirmed that the outfit sought the permission to protest.