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Bengali Actor Dropped from Playing Akhlaq's Character in Utpal Dutt's Play as He Joins BJP

Actor Koushik Kar

Actor Koushik Kar

Director Palodhi said, "The name of his character had a reference to the 2015 Dadri case where a mob had attacked the home of Md Akhlaq, killing him on suspicion of eating beef. Allowing someone to play Akhlaq after joining BJP will be attacking the soul of the play.”

Bengali theatre artist Koushik Kar has been dropped from playing a part in Saurav Palodhi’s adaptation of Utpal Dutt’s ‘Ghum Nei’ after the actor joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. This has led to disagreements in Bengal’s cultural circles as many lauded the decision, while others called it “intolerance”.

Palodhi said that Kar’s new political affiliation towards the right was reason enough to drop him as it would attack the “soul of the play”. Kar was supposed to perform a character named Akhlaq, The Time of India reported.

Kar roped in in Palodhi’s group, Ichheymoto, to play a character in ‘Ghum Nei’ back in 2019.

Palodhi said, “While adapting Dutt’s play, Koushik and I had created his character and named him Akhlaq. The name had a reference to the 2015 Dadri case where a mob had attacked the home of Md Akhlaq, killing him on suspicion of eating beef. Allowing someone to play Akhlaq after joining BJP will be attacking the soul of the play.”

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Palodhi further added that if a section of the artists feel he is “intolerant”, then he doesn’t have much to care.

Meanwhile, Kar has refused to take any credit for writing the character of Akhlaq, the report said.

“Saurav is hiding his folly by making such statements. Few Leftists who move between Dharmatala and Brigade and hyperventilate on Facebook are trying to control theatre. They have no grassroots connect. Dropping me or barring me from staging a play is only exposing the insecurity of elites who don’t even understand the essence of communism,” Kar said.

“The entire episode exposes the myopia of theatre professionals and left-wing fascism,” Kar added.

Director-actor Debesh Chattopadhyay has backed Palodhi on Facebook, however, director Kamaleswar Mukherjee said that “casting never depends on the individual’s political colour”. Meanwhile, actor Riddhi Sen called the decision an “individual’s choice”.

BJP worker and actor Kanchana Moitra dubbed it as “sheer intolerance.”

first published:March 12, 2021, 11:14 IST