Leela Samson(chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification) comments about removing scenes from PK movie that hurt the Hindu sentiment
“Every film may hurt religious sentiments of somebody or the other. We can’t remove scenes unnecessarily because there is something called creative endeavor where people present things in their own way. We have already given certificate to PK and we can’t remove anything, now because it’s already out for public viewing.” -Leela Samson
Proximity to the Nehru political dynasty
Samson is known for her proximity to the Nehru political dynasty of the Indian National Congress as she was the dance tutor of Priyanka Vadra. She was appointed as the director of Kalakshetra by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in April 2005.She was subsequently also appointed as the chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in August 2010 and as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (an autonomous body that censors and certifies films in India, including Bollywood movies) in April 2011.
Samson’s tenures at Kalakshetra, Sangeet Natak Akademi and the censor board were mired with many controversies amid allegations of corruption, illegal appointments and arbitrary awarding of contracts,financial irregularities. It is alleged that corruption flourished in the censor board under her chair person-ship and the CEO of the CBFC himself was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation when board officials were caught red-handed accepting bribes on his behalf to clear a film for release.Also, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India indicted her for the widespread corruption and rampant financial irregularities at Kalakshetra under her watch.Subsequently, Samson had to apologize to the Madras High Court when pulled up for contempt of court due to an illegal construction activity at the Kalakshetra campus situated on prime property in Chennai.
She finally resigned from her position as director of Kalakshetra in 2012.She resigned from her position as chairperson of the censor board after the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal overturned her attempt to ban the movie MSG: The Messenger of God featuring Dera Sacha Sauda founder Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a lead role and gave it clearance.
Rajiv Malhotra writes about Leela Samson in his book “Breaking India“
Rukmini Arundale, a guru who rescued the dance form from the era of Colonial evangelism. speaks of dance as “Sadhana”. She had reservations about admitting Leela Samson.
“Leela Samson , a senior artist today, came to Kalashektra as a young girl. Because of her Judeo Christian background she had not had much exposure to traditional Indian culture. Rukmani was therefore hesitant about including her as a student. However on examining her on various related aspects we found that she had the attributes of a good dancer. Rukmani game her admission but with some reluctance. “
She became new director of Kalasketra in 2005. In 2006, she provoked the media storm by justifying the elimination of spiritual roots of Bharatanatyam. In 2006, when Sri Sri Ravi Shanker, the head of Art of Living foundation expressed his concern over the attempt of Leela Samson on thwart the participation pf Kalakshetra students in inaugural function of the “Health and bliss” religious course being conducted by him. The reason being cited by Leela Samson was “this function is concerned with Hindu religion. So Kalakshetra students need not participate in it”
Most of the Vinayaka images for which regular poojas had been conducted by students were removed. Only after a lot of criticism she replaced one image. She ordered all prayers to the deity to be stopped and clothes adorning the deities were removed. She made claims that Kalakshetra never had idols that were worshiped. She told the students and teachers that idol worship is superstition and should be discouraged at Kalakshetra. There were complaints that her hand picked teachers explained the “Gita Govinda” in denigrating tones. The certificate that were designed by Rukmini with Narthana Vinayakar had the embels of Siva on it. The present certificate has been changed and is without any Hindu symbol. She has been criticized for under-valuating the Hindu stories and symbols to the point of ridicule, comparing them with Walt Disney’s characters, Batman, characters in Star war.
source: Wikipedia and Breaking India