The release of Prabhas starrer Adipurush on June 16 has sparked debates and headlines due to alleged “cringe dialogues” and a portrayal of the Ramayana that some deem inaccurate. While dedicated fans of the superstar are ecstatic, a portion of netizens have expressed their dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the Om Raut-directed film.
In the latest development, following Kathmandu Metropolis, Pokhara Metropolitan City has also imposed a ban on the screening of Indian films amidst the Adipurush dialogue controversy. The announcement was made by the Mayor of Pokhara on Sunday, instructing cinema halls in the central Nepal metropolitan city to cease showing all Bollywood films starting from Monday morning.
Similarly, Kathmandu’s Mayor, Balendra Shah, issued a ban on Indian films in the Nepali capital on Sunday evening. Subsequently, Pokhara Mayor Dhanraj Acharya sent letters to three movie theaters, directing them to halt the screening of all Indian films.
In compliance with the mayors’ orders in both cities, cinema halls have removed Hindi or Bollywood films from their schedules and replaced them with Hollywood and Nepali movies.
Mayor Acharya expressed his concerns in a Facebook post, stating, “Indian film Adipurush had a dialogue claiming Janaki was India’s daughter which is objectionable and we had given three days’ ultimatum to correct it. There is no doubt that it is the first duty of every government, government agency, non-governmental sector and Nepali citizen to protect the national interest by keeping Nepal’s freedom, independence and self-respect intact.”
The mayor further emphasized that all government authorities must prioritize protecting national interests, as the screening of such films could potentially harm the country’s identity, nationality, and cultural unity.
According to the mayor’s secretariat, the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police was deployed on Sunday evening to relay the message and enforce the ban on screening Indian films from Monday morning. The Kathmandu Metropolitan area is home to 17 movie theaters, as recorded by the metropolis.
Mayor Balendra Shah highlighted concerns about cultural encroachment posed by the film, citing Article 5 and Article 56 (6) of the Constitution. He assigned the responsibility of safeguarding national interests to the federal, provincial, and local governments.
The decision to ban Indian films in response to the controversy surrounding Adipurush reflects the sensitivity towards protecting cultural values and national pride in Nepal. As discussions continue, it remains to be seen how this development will impact the film industry and audience preferences in the region.