Almost a month ago, I brought you news of an Indian film called Parzania. The film was to serve two functions. The first would be to cinematically document the 2002 riots in Godhra, India, where the deaths of 59 Hindu passengers resulted in chaotic riots that left around 2,500 Muslims dead. The second reason -- it would give the directer, Rahul Dholakia, the opportunity to help his friends find their missing son. Dara and Rupa Mody's young son disappeared during the riots, and was never seen again.
Unfortunately, the second hope has been sufficiently dashed. While Parzania has made it through Indian censors, and has received critical acclaim in the cities it is being shown in, it has been blocked from screening in the most important place of all -- Gujarat, the state that is home to Godhra. Theater owners have claimed that the film is too controversial. And no, they are not referring to violence or other forms of adult content. Late last month, Dholakia was told by multiplex association in Ahmedabad (Gujarat's largest city) that they would only screen the film if the head of a rowdy Hindu group gave their blessings. They fear that it would inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims.
Manubhai Patel, chairman of the association, is quoted as saying: "By now the public has settled down and is living peacefully and engaged in their regular work. We fear that after watching the movie, their sentiments might get hurt, and there might be an uprising again." Dholakia plans to hold private screenings, but what are the chances that enough people will see it to make a difference? Sure, it was a long shot to hope that the Mody family could find some answers, but now it's been pushed further away.