When Mirror spoke to Hive’s curator Rohan Sabharwal on Sunday evening, he confirmed that the event was taken off their Facebook page because the police were creating a problem. Later in the night, Sharon Bhatti, wife of The Hive’s co-founder, said the cancellation was due to a technical glitch and that it had nothing to do with the police.
Nearly 400 people had intimated on Facebook that they wanted to attend the free screening. With The Hive having limited space, the organisers chose 60 people on a first-come-first-served basis. They all received a notification at 6 pm on Sunday saying the screening has been cancelled.
The documentary, directed by Nakul Singh Sawhney, was at the heart of a controversy recently after its screening was stopped at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University after opposition from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad volunteers and the JNU administration.
To protest against the disruption, the documentary was to be simulataneously screened in 24 different cities including Mumbai. According to Sabharwal, they were contacted by a friend of Nakul’s who said that they wanted to screen the film in his cultural centre.
“We are part of a space that encourages unconventional cinema. So we were more than willing to screen it. But now, since we have been called, we will go to the police station tomorrow nonetheless and see what happens,” Sabharwal said.
Sawhney could not be reached for comment till press time despite repeated attempts, as his phone was switched off. Khar police Senior Inspector Dattatray Bhargude told Mirror that they had received information that such a documentary was to be screened and wanted to verify the film and also check if permissions were in place. “We have called them to the police station tomorrow,” he confirmed.
Bhatti, however, maintained that the cancelling had nothing to do with the police and was only because of a technical glitch. “We cancelled the screening much before there were any rumors. We are still to contact Nakul through his friend and find out if he had all the necessary permissions in place. We haven’t been able to get in touch with him,” she said.
The documentary is based on the 2013 riots of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, which saw over 60 people killed and a large number of people displaced and left homeless. It shows how leaders of the BJP and the SP allegedly provoked the people against each other. The documentary delves into the current living condition of people who were displaced from their houses because of the riots.