Saturday, June 25, 2005

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Police won't allow Jinnah play, director furious:-
New Delhi | June 22, 2005 10:55:16 PM IST

New Delhi, June 21 : Delhi Police Tuesday put off the staging of a play on Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, triggering protests from the playwright and director.

Additional Commissioner of Police (south) A. Shukla said a directive had been issued that the play, Mr Jinnah, will not be performed at India Habitat Centre here Wednesday.

"We have directed them not to stage the play for the time being. There is some technical problem," Shukla told IANS without elaborating what the "technical problem" was.

Written by Narendra Mohan and directed by Arvind Gaur of Asmita theatre group, the play highlights the personal life of Jinnah.

Gaur termed the police action as "undemocratic" and a case of "high-handedness".

"When our play has nothing to do with law and order and is not aimed at arousing communal frenzy, why are the police stopping us from performing?" he asked.

"One of my friends in the Shiv Sena has no problem with the script. When political and religious leaders have no complaints, why is Delhi Police curbing our artistic freedom?

"The police should not play the role of the censor board," Gaur said.

Mohan said: "It's really frustrating that the police are interfering in the life of artistes. We strongly condemn it."

Asmita had sent a copy of the play's script to the police for scrutiny last week and also invited officials to the rehearsals.

"The script is with the police and we have no problem if the police come to our rehearsal for any further scrutiny," Gaur said. "We are ready to cooperate but the police should not curb our freedom."

He claimed that police officials had "admitted pressure from higher authorities and said it was a case of law and order".

Shukla, however, rejected Gaur's charge. "There is no question a law and order problem. They sent us a script, which is under scrutiny. But the script is not clearly legible," he said.

According to Mohan, the play highlights Jinnah's love life, relations with the family and his democratic values.

"The play is a family drama that tries to explore the psychological and mental recess of Jinnah's mind," Mohan said.


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