Reductio ad absurdumHas the country always been like this or is there a particularly potent wave of absurdity sweeping the land? Take for instance yesterday's decision by the association of Multiplexes in Gujarat to not show the film Fanaa ostensibly because they wish to protest the film's leading actor Aamir Khan's support for the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The real reason is quite obvious given what miscreants did to many theatres screening Khan's previous film and statements by the local BJP guys calling him the supporter of "Gujarat's no. 1 enemy". (Incidentally, the release of the movie is in trouble in other multiplexes in the country, but that's over commission sharing percentages).
This is clearly another form of coercion, almost tantamount to terrorism (even though that seems a strong word, these decisions by non-political entities are similar to reactions during bandhs: we fear for the safety of people and property in these situations). TV news report that the producers met the Gujarat CM, but failed to receive any assurances. If there was further evidence of lack of confidence in the state's law and order machinery, this was it - how can a state not be able to provide security for even such minor hassles?
If the people of Gujarat are hurt by Aamir Khan's stand as the parties claim, then why would they pay upwards of Rs. 100/- to go watch the film voluntarily? Would they not be able to show their disgust without need for such bans? I'm sure within a couple of weeks, those who are really keen on watching the film would have done so irrespective of this theatrical ban. The usual video piracy will have a great boost, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone were to discover a link between some of people behind the protest and this blackmarketeering. Some of the people who will lose out will be the local distributors and exhibitors.
Let's push the absurdities of the positioning to the extremes. Let's say tomorrow Kajol comes out in strong opposition to the NBA. Will the BJP push for the film's release and ensure all its cadres watch the film? In the meantime, will every BJP member who has watched an Aamir Khan film in the past either gouge out his own eyes or go in for immediate brain surgery to vacuum clean every trace of any Aamir-material in his brain? Or at the very least cover every sense orifice in his body when he appears on TV? Is every BJP worker strapped to a seat and forced to watch, preferable Clockwork-Orange style, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi because party-behn Smriti Irani stars in it? There's an episode in the absurdist comedy Father Ted where the priests of Craggy Island are given a diktat by the bishop to prevent screening of a sleazy film that makes fun of the church. The events in that episode were hilarious while purposefully illogical. The same can't be said about events in Gujarat.