By Utpal Borpujari / New Delhi
“Unfreedom”, the directorial debut of US-based Raj Amit Kumar which was banned by the Central Board of Film Certification during PahlajNihalani’stenure as CBFC chairman, is now available in India via Netflix.
Starring internationally-acclaimed Victor Banerjee and AdilHussain, the thriller set in New York and New Delhi has two parallel narratives – one focusing on religious fundamentalism and the other centered around intolerance of same-sex love.
The other actors in the film are BhanuUday, who plays an Islamic terrorist out to silence a liberal Muslim scholar (played by Banerjee), Preeti Gupta whose character Leela defies her devout father Devraj (played by Hussain) to escape an arranged marriage to be with her lady loveSakhi (played by Bhavani Lee).
“Through these stories, the film creates a powerful portrait of the troubled times we live in and depicts the lengths to which the protagonists go in order to hold on to their strong and conflicting viewpoints on freedom, faith, family and love,” the makers of “Unfreedom” said in a statement.
The film’s technical team comprises Oscar-winner ResulPookutty (sound design), award-winning cinematographer Hari Nair, and editor Atanu Mukherjee.
The film was first banned by the CBFC in 2015 after the director refused to cut crucial scenes, and then by the Appellate Tribunal(FCAT) where he had appealed against the CBFC order.
Later, Kumar and his team ran a campaign for a year during which they did around 100 screenings of the film globally, including in India and the US
“I am glad that Unfreedom finds such a popular platform like Netflix after the ban in India and the efforts of censorship guardians in India to stop the film. It also exposes the hypocrisy and divide between reality and fantasy of censorship system in India. There is no way they can control and censor content in digital age, yet, they try their best to choke filmmakers like me who have something relevant to say that makes them feel threatened,” says Kumar on the Netflix release.