Protests Over Bhobishyoter Bhoot Getting Removed from Theatres in West Bengal Gaining Ground
Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a socio-political satire on current times, was removed from multiplexes and single screens across West Bengal a day after its release.
People in Kolkata protesting against Anik Dutta’s Bhobishoyoter Bhoot being pulled off from screens.
Artists and technicians of Kolkata’s Tollygunge film fraternity took to streets on Tuesday to protest against the mysterious disappearance of Anik Dutta’s Bhobishoyoter Bhoot from screens after it released on February 15 with censor board certification.
The film, a comedy and socio-political satire on current times, was removed from multiplexes and single screens across West Bengal a day after its release with theatre owners claiming they had instructions from “higher authorities” to do so. Interestingly, the identity of these “higher authorities” and the nature of “instructions” given by them is yet to be known.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refused to comment on the brewing controversy with protestors blaming the state administration for waging political vendetta against filmmaker Anik Dutta. Dutta, who directed the 2012 blockbuster Bhooter Bhobishyot, had critiqued the government for plastering the venues of Kolkata Film Festival, 2018, with portraits of the chief minister.
“I will not answer. Don’t ask me this question,” Banerjee told reporters at state secretariat Nabanna on Monday when she was asked about the alleged censor.
Tuesday’s protests before Kolkata’s Academy of Fine Arts was attended by Dadasaheb Phalke-winning actor Soumitra Chatterjee and several members of the Bangla film fraternity and intellectuals, including actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty.
While Chatterjee called the move “anarchistic” and “one that demanded bold resistance”, Chakraborty said the screenings were stopped to “spread a reign of fear”.
“My producers are contemplating taking the legal route to see this ban lifted. But it is heartening to see so many members of the fraternity stand shoulder to shoulder in protest. This is no longer my fight now. This is a fight for the entire film community of Bengal who feel this could happen to any of them in future,” Dutta told News18 at the protest site.
Actor Saayoni Ghosh questioned, “Mamata Banerjee had opposed the attack on Padmaavat and assured the film’s producers all security for its screening in Bengal. Then why is such coercion happening to Bangla films under her watch?”
“It is a shame that we are having to hold such protests on Kolkata’s streets instead of working in front of cameras,” she added.
“Anik Dutta has opinions on certain matters which he is entitled to voice. I sincerely hope this coercion from state authorities is not happening because of that. It would be extremely unfortunate to stop a film that’s bold and funny from reaching the viewers because of some pre-conceived ideas about the director,” said Chandrayee Ghosh, an actor who is also a part of the film’s cast.
The disappointment among protestors could hardly mask their anger. “We hold such protests in places like these which are our comfort zones and don’t get followed up. We should hold a march to the state secretariat Nabanna and directly ask our chief minister what is happening,” said actor Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee, volunteering to be the one to throw the uncomfortable question at Mamata Banerjee.
The snowballing discontent among Kolkata’s film fraternity may just be the push needed to exorcise the ghost that currently engulfs the industry.
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