A really humourous take on the sorry state of affairs within the Indian government in the present day.
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resources Development
Department of Culture
Films Division, New Films Subdivision
No. B1452/234/2003 Dt. 23.12.07
Film Director, Mumbai
Ref: Film story submitted by you, regarding financing of films by Govt of India; Your letter dt. 2.12.90
The undersigned is directed to refer the aforementiontioned letter and state that the Government (GOI) has examined your proposal for financing a film called ”Mahabharat’. The VHLC (Very High Level Committee) constituted for this purpose has been in consultation with the Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women and Labour Commission, in addition to various Ministries and State Governments, and have formed definitive opinions about the script.
Their observations are as below:
- In the script submitted by you it is shown that there were two sets of cousins, namely, the ‘Kauravas’, numbering one hundred, and the ‘Pandavas’, numbering five or six. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pointed out that these numbers are high, well above the norm prescribed for families by them. It is brought to your kind attention that when the Government is spending massive amounts for promoting Family Planning in due earnest, this indiscretion will send erroneous signals to the general public. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that there may be only three ‘Kauravas’ and one ‘Pandava’.
- The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has raised an issue whether it is suitable to depict kings and emperors in this democratic age. Therefore,it is suggested that the ‘Kauravas’ may please be depicted as Honourable Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and the ‘Pandava’ may please be depicted as Honourable Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). The ending of the film shows the victory of the said ‘Pandavas’ over the said ‘Kauravas’. The ending may be suitably modified so none of the Honourable Members of Parliament is shown as being inferior to other Honourable Members of Parliament.
- The Ministry of Science and Technology has observed that the manner of birth of ‘Kauravas’ is suggestive of human cloning, a technology banned in India . This may be changed to normal birth.
- The National Commission for Women has objected that the father of ‘Pandavas’, one Sri ‘Pandu’, is depicted as bigamous, and also there is only one wife for the ‘Pandavas’ in common. Thereore suitable changes may be made in the said script so that the said Sri ‘Pandu’ is not depicted as bigamous. However, with the reduction in number of ‘Pandavas’ as suggested above, the issue of polyandry can be addressed without further trouble.
- The Commission for the Physically Challenged has observed that the portrayal of the visually impaired character ‘Dhritarashtra’ is derogatory. Therefore the said character may not be shown as visually impaired.
- The Department of Women and Child Development have highlighted that the public disrobing of one female character called ‘Draupadi’ is objectionable and derogatory to women in general. Further the Home Ministry anticipates that depiction of such scenes may create law and order problem and at the same time invite strong protests from the different women forums. Such scenes may also invite penal action under SITA (Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act), therefore they may be avoided and deleted from the film.
- It is felt that showing the ‘Pandava’ and the ‘Kauravas’ as gamblers will be anti-social and counter-productive as it might encourage gambling. Therefore, the said ‘Pandavas’ and ‘Kauravas’ may be shown to have engaged in horse racing or cricket. (Hon. Supreme Court has held horse racing and cricket not to be gambling).
- The ‘Pandavas’ are shown as working in the King ‘Virat’s employment without receiving any salary. According to the Human Rights Commission, this amounts to bonded labour and may attract provisions of The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. This may be corrected at once.
- In the ensuing war, one character by name Sri ‘Abhimanyu’ has been shown as fighting. The National Labour Commission has observed that, war being a hazardous industry, and the said character being 16 years old, this depiction will be construed as a case of child labour. Also there is no record of his being paid any compensation. This may also be deemed to be violatory of the provisions of The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Such references in the film may be removed.
- The character Sri ‘ Krishna ‘ has been depicted as wearing a peacock feather. The peacock is our National Bird and wearing dresses made from peacock feather is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. This may not be depicted.
- Smt.. Maneka Gandhi has raised very serious objection against using any elephants or horses in war scenes, since there is every scope for mistreatment and injury to the said animals. The provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Act, 1960 would be applicable in the instant case. Suitable changes may be made in the script to address the objections raised.
- In pursuance of the Memorandum of Ministry of Finance regarding austerity measures, it is informed that in the battle field sequences, only ten soldiers may be allowed for each side. Also, all the characters may be shown to have obtained a valid licence under the Arms Act, 1959 as well as the Indian Arms Act, 1878.
You may have observed already that none of these observations attempt to curb artistic freedom or ingenuity in conformity with avowed GOI policy. You are therefore requested to modify your otherwise meritorious script along the aforementioned lines and resubmit it (notarised triplicate) to the undersigned at the earliest for the Government’s consideration in due course.