Government of India
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
Department of Cultural Films Division
No. B1452/234/2003 Dt. 23.8.08
Shri. S. Spielberg,
Sub: Film story submitted by you, regarding financing of films by Government of India.
Ref: Your letter dt. 2.12.90
The undersigned is directed to refer the above letter and state that the Government has examined your proposal for directing a film called ”Mahabharat’ . The Very High Level Committee constituted for this purpose has been in consultation with the Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women and Labour Commission, in addition to various Ministries and State Governments and have formed definitive opinions about the script.. Their observations are as below:
1. In the script submitted by you it is shown that there were two sets of cousins, namely, the Kauravas, numbering one hundred, and the Pandavas, numbering five. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pointed out that these numbers are high, well above the norm prescribed for families by them. It is brought to your kind attention that when the Government is spending huge amounts for promoting family planning, this will send wrong signals to the public. Therefore, it is recommended that there may be only three Kauravas and one Pandava.
2. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has raised an issue whether it is suitable to depict kings and emperors in this democratic age. Therefore, it is suggested that the Kauravas may be depicted as Honourable Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and the Pandava may be depicted as Honourable Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). The ending of the film shows the victory of the said Pandavas over the said Kauravas. The ending may be suitably modified so that neither of the Honourable Members of Parliament are shown as being inferior to the other.
3. The Ministry of Science and Technology has observed that the manner of birth of Kauravas is suggestive of human cloning, a technology banned in India. This may be changed to normal birth.
4. The National Commission for Women has objected that the father of Pandavas, one Sri Pandu, is depicted as bigamous, and also there is only one wife for the Pandavas in common. Therefore suitable changes may be made in the said script so that the said Sri Pandu is not depicted as bigamous. However, with the reduction in number of Pandavas as suggested above, the issue of polyandry can be addressed without further trouble.
5. The Commission for the Physically Challenged has observed that the portrayal of the visually impaired character ‘Dhritharastra’ is derogatory. Therefore the said character may not be shown as visually impaired.
6. Department of Women and Child Development have highlighted that the public disrobing of one female character called ‘Draupadi’ is objectionable and derogatory to women in general. Further the Home Ministry anticipates that depiction of such scenes may create law and order problem and at the same time invite strong protests from the different women forums. Such scenes may also invite penal action under SITA (Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act), therefore they may be avoided and deleted from the film.
7. It is felt that showing the Pandava and the Kauravas as gamblers will be anti-social and counterproductive as it might encourage gambling. Therefore, the said Pandavas and Kauravas may be shown to have engaged in horse racing. (Hon. Supreme Court has held horse racing not to be gambling)
8. The Pandavas are shown as working in the King Virat’s employment without receiving any salary. According to the Human Rights Commission, this amounts to bonded labour and may attract provisions of The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. This may be corrected at once.
9. In the ensuing war, one character by name Sri Abhimanyu has been shown as fighting. The National Labour Commission has observed that, war being a hazardous industry, and the said character being 16 years old, this depiction will be construed as a case of child labour. Also there is no record of his being paid any compensation. This may also be deemed to be violatory of the provisions of The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Such references in the film may be removed.
10. The character ‘Sri Krishna’ has been depicted as wearing a peacock feather. The peacock is our National Bird and wearing dresses made from peacock feather is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. This may not be depicted
11. Smt Maneka Gandhi has raised very serious objection for using any elephants or horses in war scenes, since there is every scope for mistreatment and injury to the said animals. The provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Act, 1960 would be applicable in the instant case. Suitable changes may be made in the script to address the objections raised.
12. In pursuance of the Memorandum of Ministry of Finance regarding austerity measures, it is informed that in the battle field sequences, only ten soldiers may be allowed for each side. Also, all the characters may be shown to have obtained a valid licence under the Arms Act, 1959 as well as the Indian Arms Act, 1878.
You are therefore requested to modify the script along the lines indicated above and resubmit it to the undersigned with in 15 days of receiving this letter along with a scrutiny fee of 22.22% of the total estimated the production cost, failing to which your application is liable to be rejected without assigning any reason and no further communication will be entertained in this regard.
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting