Leela Samson was to Sonia Gandhi what Pupul Jayakar was to Indira Gandhi; Samson, hand-picked by Sonia Gandhi is currently in the eye of another storm and this time for sins of omission and commission as Chairperson Central Board of Film Certification or Censor Board as it is commonly known. Hindus and Hindu organizations protesting against Rajkumar Hirani directed Aamir Khan starrer pk, are accusing Leela Samson of Abrahamic bias: for passing a film which mocks and insults Hindu religious sensibilities. The film is one long anti-Hindu diatribe, (with what has recently become a mandatory Bollywood Pakistani Muslim romantic angle), all packaged in slick photography and appealing music. Indian Hindu loves Indian Muslim love story has now escalated to another level: Indian Hindu loves Pakistani Muslim love story.
The Muslim underworld which is known to fund Bollywood films, while on the one hand is preparing the soil for secular debunking and young acceptance of the love jihad phenomenon is also simultaneously aiming high with its political intent; from campaigning for the seemingly innocuous communal harmony through Hindu-Muslim love stories, Bollywood’s Muslim underworld is pushing the multi-billion Hindi film industry, especially Hindu artists towards India-Pakistan bhaichara hoping Bollywood’s Hindus will turn a blind eye to the very real threat of love jihad and to Indian Muslim and Pakistani Muslim jihadi terror against the Indian nation. A hope that was realized when a deracinated Bollywood Hindu director got a Hindu actor to play the protagonist in Haidar – a vicious anti-India, anti-army and anti-Hindu movie.
Discerning Hindus have taken serious exception to PK’s story-line and to several scenes in the film which besides insulting Bhagwan Shiva, heaps insult upon insult on the ordinary religious Hindu. Aamir Khan mouths a corny dialogue – jo dar gaya vo mandir gaya. While it is obvious how the film passed unscathed through th Censr Board, it is a mystery why Modi Sarkar did not evict this Sonia Gandhi appointee as Chairman Censor Board in May 2014 after the new government took charge.
That’s what made Sonia Sarkar so different from Modi Sarkar – Sonia Gandhi’s complete indifference to public or professional opinion when she placed all her loyalists, domestic minions, and sycophants in high places – CBI, CAG, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Raj Bhavan, Prime Minister, NSA, Sangeet Natak Academy, Censor Board and Kalakshetra Foundation. Sonia Gandhi understood power; she purchased silence and rewarded loyalty. Modi Sarkar suffers from the same ‘tolerant Hindu image’ that plagued Vajpayee and his khichdi government. Leela Samson succeeded Sharmila Tagore as Chairman Central Board of Film Certification while Tagore succeeded Anupam Kher. Kher took over as Chairman of the Censor Board on October 16, 2003, during the NDA government. The NDA lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections and Sonia Gandhi began her determined move to pack all government and administration with her men and women. We do not know if Sonia Gandhi asked for Kher’s resignation or if Kher resigned of his own accord but Sharmila Tagore, who too was hand-picked by Sonia Gandhi for embodying Indian Hindu-Indian Muslim love story, took over from Anupam Kher on 13th October 2004, three days short of Kher’s one year as Chairman. Why did Modi Sarkar not show Leela Samson the door in May 2014?
This is not the first time Leela Samson’s anti-Hindu Abrahamic bias has come to the fore. Previously her stint as Director Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai was mired in one controversy after another. At one point during Sonia Gandhi’s ten year long neo-colonial rule, between 2011-2012, Leela Samson was heading three of the country’s most prestigious and powerful organizations simultaneously – as Director, Kalakshetra Foundation 2005-2012, as Chairman, Sangeet Natak Academy August 2010-September 2014, and as Chairperson, Central Board of Film Certification April 2011-till date. Born to a Bene-Israeli Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother it is not difficult to guess why Leela Samson was hand-picked by Sonia Gandhi over the heads of other more illustrious Indians; and Hindus.
Leela Samson may have been a student of Kalakshetra but when Sonia Gandhi appointed her Director of the prestigious institution, she did it by ignoring other equally meritorious Hindu artists. It needs to be emphasised, if MK Narayanan was hand-picked for a definite purpose by Sonia Gandhi as National Security Adviser after the sudden and mysterious death of JN Dixit, Leela Samson too was hand-picked by Sonia Gandhi as Director Kalakshetra Foundation for a definite purpose. Leela Samson had her own art school and active social life in Delhi where she was living when she was appointed Director Kalakshetra and was therefore considered an outsider and viewed with resentment by a large section of the teaching faculty in Kalakshetra. If Sonia Gandhi gave Kalakshetra, the temple of classical dance and music an Abrahamic face, then Leela Samson lived up to Sonia’s expectations when step by calibrated step she de-Hinduised the legendary Kalakshetra.
Several stories soon began to leak out of Kalakshetra from unhappy teachers and students – about Leela Samson pushing aside Rukmini Devi’s long-established tradition, especially with regard to the distinct Kalakshetra style of dance or ‘bani’ and themes chosen from our Itihasas and Puranas, in the guise of innovation and creativity; about Leela Samson removing murtis of Ganesha in and around the Kalakshetra campus as being antithetic to Theosophist abstraction; about running Kalakshetra according to her whims and fancies ignoring or by-passing established rules; and evn about financial hokey pokey. But Leela Samson and her de-Hinduising mission were exposed with proof when one of Kalakshetra’s students showed me the new logo on diploma and post-diploma certificates which the Foundation was issuing after Leela Samson took charge; the student also showed me what the Kalakshetra logo looked like before Leela Samson began to innovate with Abrahamic license and iconoclasm.
Leela Samson was forced to put in her papers on 12th April, 2012 following a Board meeting on the 10th April when several Board members expressed unhappiness with Leela Samson’s style of functioning. The Kalakshetra Board was divided over the issue and Leela Samson’s critics conveyed their unhappiness to Chairman Gopalkrishna Gandhi and demanding her resignation with two weighty arguments –
- Kalakshetra was taken over by the central government and the Foundation was placed under the Ministry of Culture. When Leela Samspon was appointed Director, she was in effect a central government employee and as such had to retire at the age of 60. But despite having attained the age of superannuation, Leela Samson continued as Director.
- Several Board members also sought Samson’s resignation because the CAG report held her guilty of financial and administrative irregularities.
Left with no choice Gopalkrishna Gandhi forwarded Samson’s resignation to the Ministry of Culture and it was accepted. But Leela Samson was a Sonia loyalist and Sonia Gandhi overruled the Ministry of Culture and refused to accept Samson’s resignation. Sonia Gandhi reinstated Leela Samson once again as Director Kalakshetra on June 29, 2012, forcing angry reactions from several members of the faculty. One of them filed a PIL in the Madras High Court challenging Samson’s re-appointment. The High Court struck down Leela Samson’s re-appointment and she had to exit Kalakshetra unceremoniously, her reputation in tatters. For some reason, Leela Samson submitted her resignation as Chairperson Sangeet Natak Academy in September 2014 but she did not offer to resign and/or Modi Sarkar did not evict her from the Censor Board. The country has seen a spate of anti-Hindu, anti-national films passing muster on her watch – Singham Returns, Haidar, Mardaani and now pk.
Singham Returns: It this film, like in the Ram Gopal Verma directed and Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Sarkar’, released in 2005 when Sharmila Tagore was Chairperson Censor Board, the villain is a Hindu religious leader. In Singham Returns the hero Ajay Devgun reportedly threatens to physically assault the sanyasi while he is shown entering a mosque respectfully with his head covered.
Haidar: Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj with actor Shahid Kapoor in lead role, Leela Samson passed this anti-India, anti-Hindu and anti-army film; only goes to show that Bollywood’s underworld patrons have a long reach. A Muslim wedding and a song have been shot in the ruins of the majestic Kashmiri Hindu Martand Sun Temple referred to as devil’s den in the film. No religious, temple-going Hindu would have agreed to refer to a Hindu temple as a ‘devil’s den’. No patriot would have acted in an anti-India film with no redeeming objective; and no self-respecting Hindu would have agreed to be a part of a film which depicts the Indian state, Indian establishment and the Indian army as villains. Leela Samson passed this movie too with no cuts.
Mardaani: A brilliant film on child trafficking and child prostitution, two of the film’s pimps in the child prostitution business are shown wearing the Hindu sacred sign ‘om’ around their necks. Hindus do not wear ‘om’ around their necks like Christians wear the cross. The ‘om’ was intentional and meant to show Hindus in poor light.
PK: Leela Samson is reported to have said, she will not review her decision to pass pk; that pk is already in the public domain and she will not call it back to remove scenes offending Hindu religious sensibilities. Leela Samson should answer the following questions:
- Would she have passed a film which showed Christ being chased around a city until his robes slip off and he stands in his underwear? Or if instead of Bhagwan Shiva this had been Prophet Mohammed?
- Would Leela Samson have passed the movie if Director Rajkumar Hirani’s dialogue read ‘jo dar gaya vo masjid gaya or mecca gaya’?
- Would Leela Samson have passed the movie if the movie was about sodomising Christian priests or terrorist mullahs and maulvis exhorting the faithful to jihad from inside a mosque?
Leela Samspon had the audacity to remark that she cannot remove scenes wounding religious sensibilities on the ground that adherents of every religion then would be calling to ban films unless some scenes were removed. “”Every film may hurt religious sentiments of somebody or the other. We can’t remove scenes unnecessarily because there is something called creative endeavour where people present things in their own way. We have already given certificate to ‘PK’ and we can’t remove anything now because it’s already out for public viewing,” she told PTI.
Famous last words but was Leela Samson speaking the truth when she said she would never excise scenes just because it hurt someone’s religious feelings?
Now look what she did when the church and Christians were up in arms
Mumbai, September 27, 2012: After the protest and procession against the film, “Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal” from St. Peter’s Church in suburban Bandra, the Censor Board assured community groups – The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF), Catholic Residents Organization for Social Services (CROSS) & Catholics for Preservation of Faith (CPF) – that their concerns had been addressed and objectionable scene had been deleted from the film. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson, Ms. Leela Samson conveyed to the community groups that the film was shown to a Catholic review member and necessary action had been taken.
Today, a delegation met with representatives of apex film producers associations – Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA), Film Makers Combine (FMC) and Western India Film Producers Association (WIFPA), who in writing assured them that an advisory would be sent out to the film fraternity, cautioning the industry of stringent action, in case religious sentiments of any community was hurt. The producers associations also spoke to Percept Pictures, the producers of “Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal”, who assured that corrective action would be taken and the hence, the producers associations requested that the movie release be uninterrupted.
And when Muslim religious feelings were offended
Censor Board slams jokes on Johnny Lever’s name ‘Abdullah’ in ‘Entertainment’, April 8, 2014
Mumbai: The censor board has objected to the way Johnny Lever’s character’s name has been mispronounced in the forthcoming film ‘Entertainment’ and asked its makers to change it.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which viewed the film late last week, has asked that Lever’s character’s name be changed.
Said a source: “Lever’s character is named Abdullah, which is a very sacred name. Throughout the film other characters keep mispronouncing Abdullah’s name, calling him all sorts of things like ‘arashogollah’ and ‘amashallah’.
“The CBFC has asked the film’s producers and co-directors Sajid-Farhad to change Johnny Lever’s character’s name to avoid hurting anyone’s sentiments.”
While the jokes on Johnny’s name remain, he is no longer called ‘Abdullah’ but ‘Habibullah’ in the movie.
Starring Akshay Kumar in the lead role, the film is coming out Friday, therefore, the director duo had to work overnight to make the necessary change.
“It was a lot of hard work since Johnny’s character is there throughout the film and the jokes on his name occur all through. But there was no option. We can’t afford to take risks of hurting religious sentiments.
Leela Samson’s Abrahamic bias is beyond dispute. She was shown the door in Kalakshetra, she read the writing on the wall in Sangeet Natak Academy and resigned before she was evicted. Modi Sarkar must respect the religious sentiments of Hindus who voted for this sarkar and show Leela Samson the door. Leela Samson is an Abrahamic pretender in the Hindu classical and folk arts. Hindus must escalate their protests against pk until the government orders a review of the Censor Board decision. After all and Modi Sarkar will agree, had Aamir Khan been chasing Gandhi and not Bhagwan Shiva, Modi Sarkar would have had Leela Samson’s head by now. Hindus deserve no less.
Aamir Khan and his religious belief
There is no shred of doubt that Aamir Khan is a devout Hajji Muslim, and no Hindu has ever commented on his religious affiliation and/or practices. But what is interesting and worrying is the kind of people he has associated himself with. The last picture below, on the right shows him in the eminent company of notorious Tariq Jameel, Junaid Jamshaid and Shahid Afridi of Tabligh-e-Jamaat.
And this guy pontificates to Hindus that only those who are scared go to temples. And an aggressive Abrahamic like Leela Samson clears the movie without any compunctions.
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.