Three days earlier, Mayor Balendra Shah gave the filmmakers an ultimatum to remove a dialogue referring to Sita as an Indian daughter. On June 18, Balendra Shah, the Mayor of Kathmandu, ordered all Bollywood films to be screened in all cinemas in the Nepalese capital. In his ultimatum three days ago to the Indian filmmakers of the film Adipurush, Mr. Shah urged them to remove a dialogue that refers to Sita as India’s daughter.
According to Mr. Shah, the dialogue is misleading since Sita is believed to have been the daughter of King Janak of Janakpur.
The makers of Adipurush were asked three days ago to remove the objectionable part that depicts Janaki as an Indian woman from the film. The first duty of every Nepalese government, non-government organization, and citizen is to defend Nepal’s sovereignty, independence, and self-respect. It will not be possible to screen an Indian film in Kathmandu municipality until this objectionable part has been removed,” said Mr. Shah.
The second controversy
Nepal has a special connection to Sita, the female protagonist of the famous Ramayana, as Janakpur is believed to be her birthplace. This is why she is known in these parts as Janaki, the daughter of King Janak. Unfortunately, it has been added to the list of disputes between Nepal and India over recent years, alongside the long-standing Kalapani territorial dispute yet to be resolved. The discord was exacerbated even further on May 28th when Nepalese leaders condemned the Akhand Bharat mural in India’s new Parliament building depicting Lumbini – birthplace of Gautama Buddha – as part of ancient Indian landmass.
Nepal’s relationship with Bollywood is no stranger to discord, especially when the uproar in 2000 over remarks attributed to actor Hrithik Roshan heightened tensions. The star of the moment denied speaking those words, yet his popularity at the time intensified the stir surrounding both countries for some time. This was particularly jarring given that a few of Bollywood’s celebrated figures, including Manisha Koirala and Udit Narayan, were born in Nepal and often seen as bridging cultures between India and Nepal.
The two places are closely associated with both Hindu and Buddhist myths of Nepal-India culture, and are integral to Nepal’s identity.
According to the Kathmandu mayor, Adipurush’s dialogue claimed that Janaki was India’s daughter, which is objectionable.