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Gujarat violence film set for Friday release

IANS [Wednesday, March 02, 2005]

 "Chand Bujh Gaya" a Hindi feature film based on the 2002 Gujarat communal violence and which features a splitting likeness of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is to hit the screens Friday.

The release of the film, whose title translates as "The Moon Has Been Eclipsed", was delayed by over a year as the Censor Board wanted drastic cuts in it but the Bombay High Court, acting on the producer's appeal, ordered it to be shown in its entirety.

The censor board objected to the fact that the character of the Gujarat chief minister, played by Pratap Singh, was uncannily similar to that of the original.

The board had also objected to explicit references to places like Godhra, Vadodara and Surat, apart from several violence-affected neighbourhoods of Ahmedabad city.

Producer Faaiz Anwar then approached the Bombay High Court, which not only ordered the censor board to pass the film without cuts, but also appreciated its humanitarian message.

The film narrates the love story of a Hindu boy, played by Faisal Khan, and a Muslim girl, Shama Sikander, against the backdrop of the sectarian strife in the state that claimed more than 1,000 lives, the majority of them Muslims.

The film also depicts the Godhra train burning that claimed 59 lives and sparked the statewide violence.

"The film is about unity and harmony. We expect a good response from Gujarat," director Sharique Minhaj said.

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