Several film artists and activists on Sunday registered a sit-in protest against the withdrawal of director Anik Dutta’s film “Bhobishyoter Bhoot” (Ghost of the Future) from almost all multiplexes and single screen theatres in West Bengal.
According to reports, Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a socio-political satire directed by Anik Dutt was pulled off from Kolkata theatres the day after it was released on February 15. The movie has been taken out from the theatres allegedly for taking a dig at West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. Protestors have hit the streets claiming that the movie has been the victim of a vendetta by Mamata Banerjee.
Meanwhile, speaking to the media the director has alleged that single-screen theatre owners and multiplexes were forced to stop the screening in more than 40 screens across the state. He said, “Yes, I heard screenings have been stopped but what I have gathered is that local police stations have instructed the halls. The cops had warned my producers previously also that the content of the film could cause a problem.”
“Still, I haven’t got any official communication’ regarding the cancellation, all they (hall owners) said was that the instructions were from higher authorities. But I have received immense support and the film fraternity has shown great solidarity,” said the director.
Veteran artist Soumitra Chatterjee has written a letter, calling the taking off of the film ‘vindictive’ and ‘undemocratic’, and a “fascist policy”. Expressing shock, Chatterjee in his letter has said it was a ‘vindictive act’ of the administration. He referred to the comment made by the director during the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival last November.
At the protest in Kolkata on Sunday, several artists and activists reportedly held banners and placards criticising the act of censorship. “Amar Didi shilpi didi, amar Didi kobi, police diye bondho koren notun Bangla chobi,” read a Bengali couplet on one banner at the gathering in front of Metro Channel police station in Kolkata. (My Sister is an artist, my Sister is a poet, and she uses the police to censor a new Bengali film.)
The movie Bhobishyoter Bhoot has been facing severe controversy since the inception of the idea. The director of the movie Anik Dutta and co-producer Indira Unninayar had claimed of receiving threats recently.
Anik Dutta in the past had criticised the ‘excessive’ use of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s posters in and around the film fest venues and had argued that the film personalities should get more limelight during such events.