The Defence Ministry refused to grant a ‘No Objection Certificate’ to a movie based on a homosexual army offer as portraying romantic relations between him and a local Kashmiri boy would cast the Indian Army in a poor light and raised national security issues, said Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on Friday, 11 February.
In response to a question raised by BJP MP Varun Gandhi in Lok Sabha on defence-related movies, Bhatt said,
“The reason for refusal for granting NOC is the portrayal of a romantic relationship between an army soldier serving in Kashmir and a local boy which casts Indian Army in poor light and raises security issues.”
The ministry said that a total of 18 proposals were received from 1 January 2021 to 31 January 2022 by the Army, of which one was rejected and one is still pending.
Reacting to Bhatt's justification on NOC refusal, filmmaker Onir said on Friday that the Army would have been okay with portrayal of romantic relations between an Army officer and a local girl, as in the 2005 Indian war drama Yahaan.
So a soldier and a local girl ( like Yahaan)! Would be ok. But a Gay man can’t have any sentiments. Homophobia shows it’s ugly face.
Approval Process Does Not Violate Article 14: Defence Ministry
Bhatt said that the reason to refuse the NOC certificate to filmmakers/producers for movies based on defence-related themes is “to ensure that the armed forces are not depicted in a manner which brings disrepute to the armed forces/government/country, as also to ensure factual accuracy and that no classified matters are brought out in the open domain that could effect in security of the country.”
“The approval process is not violative of freedom of speech and expressions, guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India,” he said.
The MoS said that the approval process “is not arbitrary/discriminatory in nature nor does it violate Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Each case is considered based on its own merits keeping in view the factors like national security, the defence of India, situation of law and order in the country/various states, maintenance of discipline in the armed forces, ethos/customs of military service and general sentiments of the citizens and image of the armed forces in the minds of the citizens of India/general public.”
Last month, the Defence Ministry rejected the script of Onir’s upcoming movie, which is inspired by the story of a gay Major who had to quit his job because it proved difficult for him to be in the Indian Army while embracing his identity.
It was supposed to be a sequel to Onir's award-winning film I Am, and was supposed to be partly shot in Kolkata from April.
Onir tweeted on 21 January, “75 years of independence, more than three years since the Supreme Court of india had decriminalised homosexuality but as a society we are a long way from being treated as equals. While 56 countries across the world accepts #lgbtqi in the army, it is still illegal the Indian Army".
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