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Beyond criticism?: on ‘Sarkar’ controversy

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The uproar over ‘Sarkar’ reveals a strong streak of political intolerance in Tamil Nadu
Bullying(धमकाना/भयभीत करना) film-makers into shelving projects or effecting cuts is not new in India. However, it is not often that a State government or the ruling party resorts(सहारा लेना/प्रयोग करना) to threat(खतरे/आशंका) and intimidation(डराना-धमकाना) against a commercial film. The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu has forced the makers of the Tamil film Sarkar to cut a scene and mute some dialogue, ostensibly(जाहिरा तौर पर) because they are critical(महत्वपूर्ण/आलोचनात्मक/संकटमय) of government policy or offend(अपमान/रुष्ट करना) their sensibilities(अनुभूति/संवेदनशीलता). AIADMK supporters went on a rampage(हिसात्मक आचरण/हंगामा) in cinemas that screened the film, and in chorus(सहगान/गायकगण), State Ministers spoke of legal action against the producers, while decrying(निंदा करना/दोष देना) scenes critical of populist schemes. Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar’s remark that film-makers have “lost their fear(भय/चिंता)” after the demise of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was a tacit(मौन/सूचित)endorsement(समर्थन/पुष्टि) of a climate(वातावरण) of fear. This is a reminder(अनुस्मारक/स्मरण-पत्र) that it does not take much to touch the raw nerves of politicians. The blowback is worse(और भी बुरा) when the party in question is running the government. This film has become an easy target for the AIADMK dispensation(व्यवस्था/वितरण), as it is critical of welfare(कल्याण/कुशल)schemes for which the State is renowned(मशहूर/प्रख्यात). Part of a woman character’s name will now be muted to avoid any impression(धारणा/प्रभाव), however unfounded, that it was a veiled reference to Jayalalithaa. Images of people throwing into the fire mixers and grinders they had got from the government have also been snipped.

Sarkar controversy: what is it all about?

The legal position that there should be no further(आगे बढ़ाना/और भी) enforced(बाध्य करना/लागू करना) censorship once a film has been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification has been willfully(जानबूझकर ) ignored. Though the courts have repeatedly(बार-बार ) emphasized(जोर दिया) this, and come out strongly against street(मार्ग/पथ) violence(हिंसा) being used as an excuse(बहाना/माफ करना) to curtail(कमी करने/घटाना) free expression, producers are frequently(अक्सर ) forced( मजबूर/बलपूर्वक) by the politically powerful to compromise(समझौता). Actor Vijay, who plays the protagonist(नायक/समर्थक) in Sarkar, and has a considerable(काफी/विचारणीय) fan following, is seen as nurturing( पोषित) political ambitions(महत्वाकांक्षाएं). His previous project, Mersal, had drawn the ire of the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit for critical references(संदर्भ) to the GST. One of the ironies in Tamil Nadu is that sometimes serious social issues are debated(बहस करना/विवाद करना) more in commercial cinema than in the political arena. Though the treatment of such issues often lacks(कमी ) substance(पदार्थ/अर्थ) or nuance(बारीकियों,/अति सूक्ष्म अंतर,), it has had a way of offending someone or the other, and resulted(परिणामस्वरूप) in orchestrated protests(विरोध प्रदर्शन) and demands for bans or post-certification cuts. A State in which cinema has played such a defining role — as many as five Chief Ministers have had a film industry background — ought to understand that films will and should make comments on issues of social importance. And that criticism on celluloid(आकृति) is no reason to take the law into one’s hands and use the might of the State to instil a climate of fear and stifle free expression.

Important Vocabulary

1.Bullying(धमकाना/भयभीत करना) 
Synonyms: imperious, blustering, hectoring, swaggering, despotic

2.Resorts(सहारा लेना/प्रयोग करना) 
Synonyms: camp, harbor, hideaway, hotel, inn

Synonyms: blackmail, hazard, intimidation, menace, peril
Antonyms: certainty, safety, surety

4.Offend(अपमान/रुष्ट करना
Synonyms: aggrieve, anger, annoy, antagonize, disgust
Antonyms: aid, assist, assuage, calm, comfort

Synonyms: choir, ensemble, carolers, chorale, choristers

Synonyms: affection, emotion, feeling, insight, sense
Antonyms: dislike, hate, hatred, numbness, ignorance

Synonyms: implicit, implied, indirect, unspoken, alluded to
Antonyms: stated, explicit, express

Synonyms: benefit, health, interest, progress, well-being
Antonyms: disadvantage, depression, discontent, dissatisfaction, loss

Synonyms: acclaimed, distinguished, eminent, esteemed, famed
Antonyms: common, inconspicuous, infamous, inferior, insignificant

Synonyms: disbursement, allotment, appointment, apportionment, award
Antonyms: disfavor, whole, denial, veto

Synonyms: admonition, expression, gesture, hint, indication
Antonyms: forgetfulness

12.Rampage(हिसात्मक आचरण/हंगामा) 
Synonyms: binge, destruction, disturbance, frenzy, orgy
Antonyms: calm, order, peace, happiness, harmony

Synonyms: demanding, analytical, belittling, biting, calumniatory
Antonyms: complimentary, laudatory, praising, trivial, uncritical

14. Excuse(बहाना/माफ करना
Synonyms: alibi, apology, justification, pretext, rationalization, substitute
Antonyms: permanent

15.Nuance(बारीकियों,/अति सूक्ष्म अंतर,),
Synonyms: distinction, gradation, hint, implication, nicety
Antonyms: brightness, information, light, lot

Synonyms: cinema, feature, film, flick, motion picture

Synonyms: combatant, hero, idol, advocate, champion
Antonyms: antagonist

Synonyms: assault, attack, bloodshed, brutality, clash
Antonyms: calm, health, kindness, method, niceness




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