Adipurush Controversy: Nepal Bans Indian Cinema Screening

The highly anticipated Indian film, Adipurush, continues to be mired in controversy as its release approaches. Following a recent dialogue controversy, Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, and now Pokhara, have taken the decision to ban the screening of Indian films in their cinemas. This move has sparked discussions about national interests, cultural identity, and the perceived misrepresentation of historical figures. The controversy highlights the delicate balance between artistic expression and cultural sensitivity.

Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah took to social media to announce the ban on Indian films in the city, citing a specific dialogue in Adipurush as the reason behind the decision. The dialogue in question claims that Janaki, the legendary wife of Lord Rama, is India’s daughter, which Mayor Shah believes to be factually incorrect. He argued that it is the responsibility of the government, non-governmental agencies, and Nepali citizens to protect the national interest and cultural identity of the country.

Mayor Shah’s Facebook post emphasized that allowing the film to be screened in its current form would damage Nepal’s nationality and cultural identity. He stated that unless the objectionable portions, including the controversial dialogue, were removed, Indian films would not be allowed to be screened within the Kathmandu Metropolitan Area.

Following Kathmandu’s lead, Pokhara Mayor Dhanraj Acharya also ordered a halt to screening Indian films in the city. Letters were sent to three movie theaters, instructing them to stop screening Bollywood films and replace them with Hollywood and Nepali films instead. This decision reflects growing concerns about the portrayal of national and cultural identity in Indian cinema.

In response to the ban, T-Series, the production company behind Adipurush, wrote to the Nepali mayor, stating that the film should be viewed as a work of art and not be misinterpreted as intending to harm national or religious sentiments. They emphasized the film’s aim to generate interest in history and requested support for the artistic form of the movie. However, Mayor Shah remained steadfast in his position, insisting that changes to the dialogue should be made not only in Nepal but also in India.

The specific dialogue in question, “Janaki is a daughter of India,” has become a focal point of the controversy. While it was removed from the film in Nepal, Mayor Shah demands that the dialogue be removed entirely from all versions of the movie. This demand has raised questions about the limits of artistic freedom, the portrayal of historical characters, and the potential impact on cultural relations between India and Nepal.

The Adipurush controversy continues to unfold as Nepal’s cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara ban the screening of Indian films due to concerns over the misrepresentation of cultural identity. The dispute highlights the complexities surrounding artistic expression, historical accuracy, and the safeguarding of national interests. As the dialogue controversy persists, it remains to be seen whether the filmmakers will make the desired changes or if further discussions and negotiations will take place between the involved parties to reach a resolution.

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