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|October 6, 1998||
D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
The defence of producer Suchithra Mohanlal, wife of actor Mohanlal, flew in the face of the position being adopted by the director and cast.. She tried to wriggle her way out, putting the blame on an editing mix-up. But the director himself had admitted that the two climaxes were a deliberate effort to keep happy fans of both superstars, Mohanlal and Mammootty.
The producer had thwarted direct action from the censor board by claiming two prints had reached the theatres due to a mistake at the editing room. But things may be more difficult if she had to fight two cases, one in a consumer court and the other at the Kerala high court.
A viewer, who has approached the consumer court at Thrissur , has sought a compensation of Rs 100,000 for misleading him through advertisements.
The petitioner, Sivaraman said he had gone to view the film guided by an advertisement advertising one particular end, but what he got to see at the theatre was something different. The petitioner contended that the filmmaker and the theatre owner were legally bound to screen only the film approved by the censor board but the print he saw hadn't been really approved.
The case in the high court, filed by the Odessa John Abraham Trust seeks to quash the certification given to the film by the board and to have action taken against the producer for screening one film with different endings at various theatres in the state. The petitioner charged that Harikrishnans epitomized the degeneration of commercial cinema in the state by catering to communal tastes. The petitioner said prints exhibited in Hindu-dominated areas, showed Mohanlal, the Hindu superstar, marrying the heroine, while in Muslim-dominated areas the heroine is shown as marrying Mammootty.
"My attempt was to burst the super star myth in the Malayalam film industry. Honestly, it was an experiment in this direction. If the two climaxes were permitted, am sure both versions would have collected well.
"I could have proved that what matters for the cinegoers is the characters and not the actors. Unfortunately, I was denied the opportunity. I could have a set a record in Indian cinema that a film could be made a success with two different endings," Fazil told newsperson at his hometown, Alappuzha. That, of course, puts the producer in a spot.
The censor board had approved only the end with Mohanlal marrying the heroine. The producer withdrew the print showing Mamootty emerging the winner after the censor board sought clarification for the uncensored version being shown, pointing out that the action amounted to breach of rules punishable with imprisonment up to three years or with fine up to Rs 100,000.
The board's local representative pointed out rule 33 of the Cinematograph (certification) Rules stipulated that when a film is altered by excision, addition, colouring or otherwise after it was certified under these rules, it shall not be exhibited unless the altered portion is reported to the board for endorsement in the certificate.
The producer's reply, stating that she had shot three different climax scenes for the film and one of these scenes had been thought of as appropriate and sent for censoring. And cleared on September 1.
Subsequently, following the uproar, she applied for a change in the climax after adding three feet. The censor board approved and endorsed it.
The producer said. "While editing the final portions for public exhibition, a mix-up appears to have occurred... Some prints sent for exhibition had this climax which was not censored..."
When the censor board objected, the changes were made and all seemed settled. Till the cases were filed...
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