Kathmandu [Nepal], June 18 (ANI): Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah has threatened to ban the screening of Indian films across Kathmandu from Monday over the controversy around 'Adipurush', a cinematic adaptation of the epic 'Ramayana'.
The move comes amid a row in the Himalayan country over the newly-released film, which depicts Sita as being born in India.
Claiming that Sita, wife of Lord Ram in the epic, was born in Nepal, the mayor gave a three-day deadline to the makers of the magnum-opus to make necessary changes.
He demanded that the makers remove the contentious dialogue from the film not just in Nepal but elsewhere across the globe where it was released.
Taking to Facebook, the Kathmandu Mayor, who goes by the name Balen on the social media platform, threatened to enforce a ban on the screening of all Indian movies through the deployment of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police.
"Indian film 'Adipurush' has dialogue claiming Janaki was India's daughter. This is objectionable and we had given a three-day ultimatum (to the makers) to correct it. There is no doubt that it is the first duty of every government, government agency, and non-governmental sector and Nepali citizens to protect the national interest by keeping Nepal and its freedom, independence and self-respect intact," the Kathmandu mayor stated in a Facebook post.
The mayor claimed the screening of Indian films will damage the country's national identity, nationality and cultural unity.
"If the film is shown as it is, it seems that Nepal's nationality, cultural unity and national identity will be severely damaged and irreparable damage will be done. Due to cultural encroachment on Nepal from that movie, this metropolitan city has attracted serious attention," the Mayor stated further in his Facebook post.
Shah stated, "If the film is allowed to be shown in other areas within the country and abroad, it will establish a misleading fact, so it is prohibited to show any Indian film in the Kathmandu metropolitan city until the objectionable parts are removed from the said film."Further, according to the mayor's secretariat, personnel from Kathmandu Metropolitan Police were deployed on Sunday evening and conveyed the message to ban the screening of Indian films from Monday morning.
Kathmandu has 17 cinema halls, as per the official record of the metropolis.
'Adipurush', which was released across the globe on Friday, has a dialogue which proclaims "Janaki (another name for Sita) is a daughter of India".
The dialogue, however, has been removed in Nepal after the censor board in the Himalayan nation raised an objection over it and delayed the film's release on Friday.
The censor board of Nepal on Thursday asked the makers to beep out the dialogue in the film before clearing it for screening across theatres in the country.
However, the scheduled release of the film on Friday couldn't go ahead as planned as the advisory or circular to beep out the contentious dialogue did not reach the makers on time.
On Friday, the mayor wrote to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology requesting it to stop the screening of all Indian films in Nepal unless the objectionable dialogue from the recently-released 'Adipurush' is omitted.
Shah also sent a copy of his letter to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Film Development Board, urging the government to take diplomatic initiatives with India to remove the dialogue.
Mentioning that Article 5 and Article 56 (6) of Nepal's constitution have vested the federal, provincial and local governments with the responsibility to protect the national interest, Shah said the metropolis was concerned with the film's "cultural encroachment". (ANI)