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|December 21, 1998||
Naqvi justifies referring Fire back to Censor Board
Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has justified referring the controversial film Fire back to the Censor Board and denied the allegation of board chairperson Asha Parekh that she was harassed by him.
Replying to a question from the media on Asha Parekh's reported allegation that she was harassed by him, Naqvi said, "She is like a mother, how can I harass (her)".
Asked about the reported threat of Asha Parekh, yesteryear's Heroine, to resign from the board on the issue, Naqvi said he was not aware of it.
He said the Censor Board's report on the film, which was referred back to it following over 100 representations from various social and women's organisations and several parliamentarians, was awaited.
It was not the first instance when a film had been referred to the Censor Board for re-examination , Naqvi said, and pointed out recent films like Maachis were referred back under Section 32 of the Cinematography Act.
Asked whether he has seen the movie, the minister said, "Not officially."
He said the film, made by celebrated director Deepa Mehta depicted lesbianism. Such films were made with a view to capturing foreign markets, he felt.
He lamented that in the name of freedom of expression, Indian culture was being destroyed by "so-called cultural personalities". These cultural attacks "would not affect the rich Indian culture and tradition".
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