IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

India Bans Movie on Indira Gandhi's Assassination

The head of the film board says the movie improperly glorifies the men who killed Gandhi in 1984.
In this picture taken early 1984 shows I
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv at a Congress Party meeting in New Delhi in 1984.AFP - Getty Images, file

The Punjabi language film "Kaum De Heere" (which translates as "Diamonds of the Community") was supposed to open in theaters Friday, but it was pulled after India's film board declared that the story line glorified the lives of two of the Sikh bodyguards responsible for Gandhi's assassination.

The plot follows the lives of Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, the two bodyguards who opened fire on Gandhi in the garden of the prime minister's residence in New Delhi in October 1984. Beant Singh was killed by police shortly after the assassination, while Satwant Singh was convicted of murder and hanged in 1987. The pair were reportedly acting in retaliation for Gandhi's decision to raid the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine, earlier that year.

"We saw the film and decided it could not be released ... due to fears that it would lead to disruption of public order," said Leela Samson, head of the Central Board of Film Classification. "The film is double trouble. It glorifies Indira Gandhi's assassins, who took the law into their own hands, and it glorifies the [deaths] of the two men."

While Ravinder Ravi, the film's producer, has yet to respond to the board's decision, he did speak out in defense of the story line in a recent interview with the BBC.

"Films have been made about political assassinations all over the world, so why can't a film be made on Mrs Gandhi's assassination?" Ravi asked.

Both the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the two biggest parties in India, support banning the film.