Filmmaker Apoorv Singh Karki’s Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai seems inspired from the real life case of self-proclaimed Godman Asaram, who got convicted for rape and is currently in prison for the same. The film stars Manoj Bajpayee as lawyer PC Solanki, who fights the case on behalf of the victim.
The movie succeeds in exposing a self-proclaimed Godman Babaji (Surya Mohan Kulshrestha). It sends out a strong message on how dangerous it can be to blindly worship demons disguised as Godmen. The film has taken creative liberties as a lot happens conveniently for the protagonist. But you don’t mind this much because of the larger impact it creates. The monologue by Manoj Bajpayee, who gives one of his career best performances, helps the cause tremendously for the overwhelming effect it produces.
But this write-up is not just about how good Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is.
The film reminds us the high importance of the OTT (over the top) medium and why it is the only source to watch the kind of content presented by Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai. In other words, this movie is a reminder on why it is absolutely necessary for any kind of censorship to be miles away from the OTT medium.
Before the release of Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, the organization founded by Asaram had sent a legal notice to the makers of the film since the character of the villain Babaji appears similar to Asaram. The organization alleged that the movie might tarnish his “character, reputation and standing” in the society (Imagine a convicted rapist worried about his character and reputation being tarnished).
When a film releasing online can create such ripples, one can image the situation if the same movie would have released in theatres. Asaram still has a large number of followers who still believe that he is innocent.
Having said this, it is also doubtful if Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai would have released in theatres as it is. It seems that certain portions of the film could have faced objection, especially the usage of the word ‘Sanatan’ in a couple of places. The same word would have triggered some ‘religious’ organizations of the country as well.
But that’s not all. The film has supporting characters like a real-life celebrity lawyer Ram Chandwani and politicians Venkateshwara Swamy and Bashir, who clearly appear to be inspired from three real-life personalities. The supporters of the two political leaders and their respective parties would have at least filed cases against the film.
Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai has been able to steer clear of all these difficulties simply because it is an OTT movie. The web is the only medium where the audience can see such a film as it is.
Hence, the film is a reminder why there should be no censorship on OTT.
The debate about censorship on OTT has been making rounds in recent times. While some prominent figures from the film industry are opposed to it, there are others who feel otherwise. The people from the latter category have these views because of the adult content in terms of cuss words, violence and sex scenes in OTT content.
But we should remember that if censorship is allowed on OTT, it won’t be limited to cuss words, violence and sex scenes. Any movie or show with a theme that they feel is controversial will become the victim.
A film like Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai mostly probably would.
By Keyur Seta