Producer, monk question ban on Arbat

The Ministry of Culture on Monday banned the screening of Arbat, a film about a Buddhist novice who falls for a girl, following complaints that several scenes were disrespectful of Buddhism.

On Tuesday, Arbat producer Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed and produced Ong-bak (2003), told reporters  he wanted to know exactly why the censorship board banned the film.

"It's actually a film that supports religion. The film does show monks or novices committing bad deeds, but they all face consequences.

"I think the people will have more faith in Buddhism after watching the film, because it contains the principles of Buddha's teachings, including karma," Mr Prachya said.

On Sahamongkolfilm International's Facebook page, a message was posted on Tuesday morning saying the Arbat team will make some changes to the film and will submit the revised version for consideration soon. The team will try to retain the content and the plot of the film as much as possible.

Arbat, meaning punishment for offences against rules applying to Buddhist monks and novices, was originally scheduled for public screening on Thursday.

Renowned monk Phra Maha Praiwan said he differed with the censorship board regarding the movie.

"I respect those who are against the screening of Arbat. However, it is not that bad. A movie is just a movie. It cannot have such a huge influence as to attack the religion and people's faith, or present it in negative sense," the Wat Sroi Thong monk said.

He said Buddhism's image was not damaged by movies, but by the actions of actual monks, as seen every day.

People could decide for themselves whether a film is good or bad and the board should respect their decisions, the monk said.

Video credit: Sahamongkolfilm International Co Ltd

Published: 13 Oct 2015