New Delhi: Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, who had criticised those behind a recent flashpoint event at JNU, on Friday alleged that the university has refused to screen his film “Buddha in a traffic” considering the present atmosphere at the campus, a charge denied by the university.
Accusing the university of “stifling freedom of speech and expression”, Kher said that he was told that the university cannot allow the film to be screened owing to the present atmosphere at the campus.
“Why are only certain people allowed to exercise their freedom of expression at JNU? They should practice what they are preaching. If they’re talking about freedom of speech and expression, then they should follow it also,” he said.
The university officials refuted the allegations saying no request from Kher has been received by them for screening of any film.
“We have not received any request from Kher for a screening. I did get an email from Vivek Agnihotri’s office and we replied saying there were no dates available in this semester as the academic calender was prescheduled. However, a screening could be done in next semester,” Ira Bhaskar from varsity’s School of Arts and Aesthetics said.
The varsity administration and the students union, which also organises film screenings on campus, denied having recieved any requests for the same. The controversial film ‘Aligarh’ was also screened at the varsity recently.
Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, the 2014 film called “Buddha Stuck In A Traffic Jam” also stars Arunoday Singh, Mahi Gill, Pallavi Joshi, besides Kher.
Kher, a Padmabhushan awardee, made the comments after Agnihotri took to Twitter saying that the varsity did not give permission to screen the film.
The veteran actor said he plays a professor who transforms the minds of students and incites them to become the change. He said it talks about the relationship between students and the teacher and the politics within.
Kher said that the film, which was made two years ago and was waiting for producers, depicts the atmosphere that is prevalent in JNU today.
“All kind of films are shown in JNU, it’s a film which is very relevant considering what is happening in JNU since a month. I am sure there are many students who would like to see it…It is not a controversial film,” Kher said.
“The filmmakers didn’t have the budget of Rs 5-6 crore to market the film so they decided to take the film across institutions and organisations to raise an awareness,” he said.
At a recent event in Kolkata, Kher had attacked JNU and its students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly raising “anti-national” slogans at an event on February 9 to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.