Despite the strong reaction evoked by his English film based on Godhra riots, filmmaker Rahul Dholakia said he is ready to screen Parzania in Ahmedabad. "If we, filmmakers, do not express our thoughts, we are as guilty of the crime as those that committed it," he told reporters at the International Film Festival of India in Goa.
Dholakia, who hasn't managed to find a distributor for the film, said he wanted more people to see the film and was ready to take it to schools and universities for private viewings.
The world premiere of Parzania, depicting the travails of a Parsi couple (played by Sarika and Naseeruddin Shah) who
lose their son to the riots, had been marred by a fracas on Saturday after some members of the audience alleged it was 'biased and portrayed Hindus in a bad light.'
The film, based on a true story, had been passed by the Censor Board with only a few minor audio cuts, Dholakia said.
"I don't think a screening of my film will lead to violence. It's not a pro-community film. It's pro-humanity," he said. "Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. It's a film bound to provoke discussions," he added.
However, the director accused the media of playing up the reactions of a minor section of the audience. "We made the film with a great sense of responsibility as we did not want to mess with it. It is sad that the media forgot about all the audience members who praised the film."
Actress Sarika also stood by the film, saying she agreed to act in the film because of its moving script.
Sarika, who plays the mother of the 10-year-old child, said, "The riots are a delicate issue and it is not easy to make a film on such a topic. I agreed to do it because the script had been written with maturity and a sense of responsibility."
Parzania also stars Emmy-award winning actor Corin Nemec, Raj Zutshi and Parzaan Dastur. Famous for her roles as a child star in the 1970s, Sarika recently returned to face the camera after a decade-long hiatus.
"I have signed five more films though I am not in a position to reveal more about them," the actress said. After power-packed performances in Parzania and Ruchi Narain's Kal - Yesterday and Tomorrow, Sarika seems to have more filmmakers queuing up at her door.