Sunday, July 31, 2011

‘Khap’ film draws ire of panchayats

Among this Friday’s other releases, there is a low budget and less publicised, perhaps deliberately, a film on honour killings.

The film has already invited the wrath of caste panchayats in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring states.

As the movie – “Khaps: A story of Honour Killing” – hits theaters today, hardline Khap panchayats have started demanding a ban on its screening. They say the movie is an attempt to present Khap panchayats in bad light and could incite tempers. These establishments, some self-styled, have threatened theater owners and public to boycott the movie in Haryana. The film has been inspired by series of honour killings in Haryana and some other northern states post the whimsical diktats by many Khaps.

Veteran actor Om Puri’s character in the film, portrayed as a hardline village sarpanch, too is courting controversy in Jat-dominated Haryana. The actors first time (Om), and his costume in the movie, sporting a green turban, has an uncanny resemblance with former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala. The veteran actor although rubbishes it as purely coincidental.

Film producers Sangita Sinha and Siddhant Sinha, however, deny that the movie is an attempt to tarnish the image of any such “social” organisation.

Khaps in Haryana and UP have hogged media headlines for some time now. They have also drawn flak from various courts for their arbitrary diktats on inter-caste marriages, many which have led to gruesome killings of innocent runaway couples.

Vote bank politics has helped these Khaps enjoy the “patronage” of politicians in the state.


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