The Kerala Club in Delhi on Monday cancelled the screening of a Malayalam documentary about a tea seller’s protest against the demonetisation exercise of 2016 because of alleged threats from pro-government activists, The News Minute reported on Wednesday.
The screening was to be organised by the Clone Cinema Alternative, a group formed by Malayalis in Delhi, in association with the Kerala Club. It was to be followed by a speech by a senior journalist on the financial crisis. However, it was cancelled after “news about the event came on the media and workers of the RSS-BJP said that they would not allow” it, Sanu Kummil, the director of the documentary, told The News Minute.
The documentary, titled Oru Chaayakkadakkarante Mann ki Baat [“Mind Matter of a Tea Vendor”], chronicles the plight of a septuagenarian tea vendor in Kollam, Kerala. The man shaved half his head and on the first anniversary of demonetisation, half his moustache too, as a sign of protest. The documentary also shows that he burns all the demonetised cash after he faints while in a queue to exchange old notes.
AJ Philip, a managing committee member, said the club had no political leanings, The Telegraph reported. “But members had got calls from Sangh parivar people and we decided to call off the screening as we were hiring the projector from outside and we would not be able to prevent someone from damaging it if there was a disruption,” he told the newspaper.
“When the story appeared on the media, A Sampath, Kerala’s special representative in New Delhi, extended support to hold the private screening,” Kummil said. The documentary was later screened at a private gathering organised by the Delhi Union of Journalists.
The half-hour film won the Best Short Documentary award at the 11th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala in June.
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