New Delhi: Film producer Prakash Jha on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking its direction to lift the ban imposed on the release of his film 'Aarakshan' in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
   
Counsel for Jha mentioned the petition before a bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir seeking urgent hearing of his plea as the film is scheduled to hit the screens on Friday.
   
The bench accepted his plea and decided to hear the matter at 2 pm on Friday.
   
After Uttar Pradesh, the release of the film was banned in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh yesterday over certain controversial scenes and dialogues, which the director said he is ready to delete.
   
The UP government had on August 10 banned the film for two months citing law and order problem.
    
The ban imposed by Punjab government will be in force till a screening committee constituted by it previews the movie and submits its report. The government feared that some scenes and dialogues in the film may trigger trouble.
     
Hours after the ban in Punjab was announced, the Andhra Pradesh government decided to suspend the exhibition of the film initially for a period of one week, or till a final decision is taken on the report of the Committee constituted for the purpose, whichever is earlier.
     
The AP government cited the likelihood of the film hurting the feelings of weaker sections that could lead to protests and agitations and breach of the peace and tranquility in the State for suspending the film for a week.


Ban continues in Punjab

The Punjab government on Friday said that the ban imposed on the release of Prakash Jha's controversial Hindi film 'Aarakshan' (Reservation) would continue for the time being.
    
The government has constituted a seven-member committee, which previewed the movie late last night but Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said he was yet to get the report from the committee.
    
"We haven't got the report till now...but if there is something objectionable and if they remove it no one will have any problems," Badal said.
       
He said the opinion is that if "objectionable portions" are removed no one will have any problems.
    
"We are very cautious...that is the reason there is peace in the State. Our priority is harmony and peace in the State," Badal said.
   
The decision to ban the Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan starrer was taken on Thursday by the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP led government, which cited that film's controversial dialogues may trigger protests in Punjab, an official spokesman said.
    
On August 10, the Mayawati government banned the film in UP for two months on the grounds that it could create law and order problem in the state. Every state has a provision where they can stop a film's release for two months.
    
A nine-member team of the Censor Board had given a U/A certificate to the film without any cuts.

Gujjars demand ban in J&K

Voicing their objection against the screening of Prakash Jha's 'Aarakshan' (Reservation) in Jammu and Kashmir, Gujjars today demanded a ban on the film in the state.
   
The protesters alleged the film hurts the sentiments of the backward and suppressed sections of the society.
   
"Gujjars and other marginalized groups demand an immediate ban on the screening of the film in the state as it hurts the sentiments of the backward and suppressed sections of society," Secretary of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, Dr Javaid Rahi told reporters on Friday.
   
"A team from our organisation who viewed the film, has decided to oppose the screening of the controversial movie in J&K," Rahi said.
   
Rahi said that the concept of reservation has not been properly projected in the film.
   
"ST/SC/OBC constitute a substantial chunk of J&K's population so government should respect our sentiments and ban the screening of Aarakshan in the state," he said, adding that the government should act soon since the film has already been banned in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

Dalits demand ban in Tamil Nadu

A Dalit outfit here has demanded a ban on the Tamil Nadu release of Prakash Jha's Hindi film 'Aarakshan' (Reservation), which has already been debarred from screening in UP, AP and Punjab.
   
Dalit outfit Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi staged an agitation in front of Satyam theatre, demanding that it be banned in the state.
   
A party spokesman said cadres had assembled in other places in the state like Coimbatore to protest against the release.
   
Jha today moved the Supreme Court seeking its direction to lift ban on release of his film in these states.
   
The film, which released in the rest of the country today, stars Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpai and Prateik.
   
After Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, Andhra Pradesh also banned the release on Thursday.

Ban disrespect to Censor Board: Big B

Prakash Jha's 'Aarakshan' has been banned in three states --UP, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh leaving lead star Amitabh Bachchan wondering whether Censor Board has any significance.
   
The actor, who plays an upright college principal in the movie, says the ban is “disrespect to Censor Board, which had passed the film without any cuts. Jha was later forced to delete certain scenes after protests.
   
"UP, Punjab and today Andhra Pradesh have given notice to ban the film and not allow it to be projected for another 2 months a provision given administratively to each government.
   
"What is the need then of the Censor Board, a statutory body instituted by you, the legislatures and Parliamentarians that govern this land. You nominate what you believe, to disbelieve what you nominate!! Better to remove it altogether then rather than give it disrespect," Bachchan wrote on his blog.
   
The 68-year-old star, who has been careful with his words, has taken to his blog to defend the movie.
   
"What good wills 2 months do then in the law and order situation - the reason given for the non showing of this product? So the same film is a law and order problem now and today but shall not be a problem after 2 months??" wrote Bachchan.
   
The film also includes Deepika Padukone, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpai and Prateik in pivotal roles, and released in the rest of the country on Friday.


Cong appeals for restraint

Amid the controversy over the film 'Aarakshan', Congress on Friday urged all sides to exercise restraint.
   
"I am sure something would be worked out. I would like to appeal to everybody to be restrained about it and not get excited because unnecessary building up passion really does not help the cause either way," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters outside Parliament.
       
Filmmaker Prakash Jha has moved the Supreme Court to lift the ban on the film in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
   
Tewari said the government and administration have "to tread a very fine balance in order to see that the equilibrium between the freedom of speech one side and the imperative of maintaining law and order on the other are somehow reconciled."
       
Many political leaders have also sought a ban on the release of the film, accusing the filmmakers of bias against a particular community.
       
"In situations like this, there are two views. There is always the argument that the freedom of expression should be unfettered. There will be always an argument on the other side about their apprehension of the breach of law and order. Those apprehensions have to be kept in mind," the spokesperson said.

(Agencies)