Nepal capital bans Indian film Adipurush over Sita birthplace controversy

Nepal capital bans Indian film Adipurush over Sita birthplace controversy

The movie features big names from the industry, including Prabhas, Saif Ali Khan and Kriti Sanon.
20 Jun, 2023

The mayor of Nepal’s capital launched a ban on Monday on the screening of hugely popular Indian films after a movie inspired by the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana sparked controversy.

Critics have taken issue with lines of dialogue in the film Adipurush, which was released globally in Hindi and four other Indian languages on Friday.

The inspiration for the movie, the Ramayana, centres on King Rama’s attempt to save his kidnapped wife Sita.

Sita was believed to have been born in Janakpur, a southern district of Nepal, but the film suggests she was born in India, triggering anger in Kathmandu.

Before the film’s release, Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah warned it would not be screened if that section remained, and censors cut the offending dialogue for Nepali audiences. But since the film remained unchanged outside Nepal, Shah issued a wider ban in protest.

“Banning only this film in the Kathmandu municipality while it runs in other parts of the country and abroad will establish a misleading fact,” Shah wrote on social media on Sunday.

“So screening of any Indian film will be prohibited from tomorrow (Monday) in Kathmandu municipality unless the objectionable part is removed from the film.” The film’s distributor in Nepal, Shree Byankatesh Entertainment, said on Monday that cinemas in several other cities and towns had postponed screening Adipurush over “security concerns”.

Nakim Uddin, founder of QFX Cinemas, Nepal’s largest cinema chain, said they were challenging the ban.

“The announcement has disturbed the screening of Indian films in Kathmandu, but we are moving to court against it,” Uddin said. In India, Adipurush has also courted controversy, including for its depictions of monkey deity Hanuman, Rama and Sita.

Originally published in Dawn