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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.
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“Why aren’t people coming out in the open in support of Parzania ?” asks an exasperated Dara Modi whose tragedy forms the premise of the film according to the TOI. In a story done by the TOI Dara is broken hearted over the fact that his film – Parzania is finding no takers. “We had pinned our hopes on this film. Right from the time we learnt that Rahul Dholakia (director) was planning to shoot this movie, we were eagerly looking forward to its screening hoping to get some news about our son,” says the man. His son Azhar has been missing since the 2002 riots in Gujarat following the Godhra Train Burning incident that saw the deaths of many Kar Sevaks returning from Ayodhya. Modi a Parsi makes an interesting point in that why was his son targetted if indeed he was targetted “We do not belong to any majority community. Why are we being hassled? I being a Parsi have been to Camp Hanuman and Ambaji for years and kept many a fast. Azhar would recite Hanuman Chalisa before his exams and pray at Camp Hanuman before any important match.”

Offstumped can  sympathize with Mr. Modi’s grief and his deep sense of loss as with every death in the riots and every life lost in the train burning preceeding it. That having said the controversy about Parzania has little to do with Modi or his missing son or his being Parsi who may or may not have been confused for a Muslim or a Hindu. The controversy over Parzania has to do with politics tinged by a deep anti-BJP anti-Modi bias. 

Offstumped examines the politics and selective outrage underlying the Parzania Controversy.

The Gujarat State Congress has decided to screen  the film Parzania across the state to allegedly “expose” the ruling BJP. The announcement was made by the state Congress with leader of the opposition in the Gujarat assembly Arjun Modhwadia making a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government alleging that his claims of development were a “pack of lies”. 

 It is not Offstumped’s case that Modi’s conduct during the 2002 riots was exceptional but the fact remains that in the realm of public opinion in election after election Narendra Modi has redeemed himself. There is however a legal question that still needs to be resolved but that is for the Courts to decide and going by Manmohan Singh’s yardstick which he so very often applies to esteemed colleagues in his Cabinet including murderers one is not guilty until proven so in a Court of Law.

So while the electorate in Gujarat have reposed their confidence in Modi what you have here is a organized canard to perpetuate myths through the friendly left of center mainstream media while fighting shy of winning in the realm of public opinion. A look at the news media reports on Parzania says it all. With soundbites such as

While the film had an all-India release on January 26, theatre owners in the state refused to screen it following alleged threat from organisations close to the BJP.

That was the CNN-IBN. Now if there were indeed such threats from unnamed organizations who by the way while remaining unnamed have made not secret of their proximity to the BJP which is curious in itself, what is preventing either the Congress or Rahul Dholakia from going to court. Afterall when the Fanaa controversy arose with vocal protests that was exactly what happened. So why are we not seeing a replay of Fanaa sequence of events here.

The reason you are not seeing any of that here is because there are no threats nor are there any unnamed organizations close to the BJP. Hence the absolute silence on taking legal action to ensure the screening. Instead what you have here is a situation where the Distributors have exercised their Freedom of Choice to refuse to screen the movie. Now if the Distributors believed Parzania was a blockbuster in the Aamir Khan Fanaa making and also believed they were to lose out on the opportunity costs of not screening it, it stands to reason that they would have taken the necessary legal steps if there were illegal demands on them. Being good businessmen and that too from Gujarat one can safely assume that if Parzania was the money spinner it is being made out to be which smart businessman would pass up the opportunity to screen it. The fact of the matter is the good businessmen of Gujarat have concluded that Parzania was another run of the mill mediocre movie not worth their time and effort to screen if only to prove a point in support of the Leftist Anti-Modi brigade.

So on the basis of what principle is Gujarat being faulted here. For exercising its freedom to choose and making a business decision just because that decision was something not to their liking ?

There are no principles or conscience underlying the phoney and selective outrage on Parzania. The National Centre for Missing Children, a non profit NGO in India estimates around 10 lakh children runaway from home, this is runaways not missing, every year which works out to 2 children running away every minute. It is very easy to get misty eyed on Dara Modi’s misery but the cold reality is there are absolutely no hard facts to prove that his son’s missing had anything to do with riots or the BJP or Narendra Modi.

The politics of Parzania is all about a deep anti-BJP and anti-Narendra Modi bias in Bollywood’s leftist activists and their closet communist pals in the Indian Mainstream Media. Bollywood’s arrogance is such that it not just expects but it demands that all Indians be obliged to watch any of the junk they churn out and if you exercise your freedom of choice not to screen something that somehow becomes repression and a terror regime.

Offstumped Bottomline: The Congress is welcome to screen Parzania in Gujarat at its expense only to realize perhaps there are hardly any takers in Gujarat for it. Bollywood must get of its selective outrage high horse and allow its conscience to perk up on the many outrages that straddle both sides of the political divide. The closet communists in the mainstream media must watch out for the myths they seek to perpetuate will eventually boomerang on them into irrelevance. Gujarat goes to polls later in 2007, when Gujaratis of all persuasion will pass judgement on Narendra Modi’s regime and until then the media and the bollywood types must shut and put up or go to court if they believe they have a credible case

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