Monday, 25 February 2013

Censor block film critical of Mamata, Stalin, director sees ‘political pressure’

Censors block film Censor block film critical of Mamata, Stalin, director sees political pressureThe Censor Board has refused to clear a Bengali film for taking potshots at the swearing-in ceremony of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Singur movement that forced the Tatas to exit the state. Starring rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, Kangal Malsat (War cry of the poor) is directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay. It is based on a book written by eminent litterateur Mahasweta Devi’s son Nabarun Bhattacharya.
“The way the honourable CM’s oath taking ceremony has been shown seems distortion of history and may hurt many common people of Bengal and create sensation,” the letter issued by the Central Board of Film Certification to the film’s producers, says.
The film shows a person watching the swearing-in ceremony with disdain. The letter says, “The way departure of Tata Company was uttered in the film, it seemed to malign or at least look down upon a significant movement of a civic society. The treatment of the film with unnecessary use of abusive language, sexuality and casual approach in portraying social movements may hurt the sentiments of many people in our society,” it said.
The letter claimed that the portrayal of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin has been done so irresponsibly in the film that the dogmatic statement might hurt the sentiments of many of his supporters and create unrest during public screening.
Kangal Malsat has been sent to the film certification appellate tribunal for a review.
Mukhopadhyay, whose first film, Herbert, could not be screened at the Nandan auditorium due to opposition from the then Left Front government, said Kangal Malsat was not cleared by the Board because of “some political pressure” as it showed Mamata’s swearing-in ceremony and there was reference to the Singur movement and exit of Tatas. One of the characters, Dandabayas, played by Suman, says in the film, “Just see how the Tatas have cut a sorry figure. Now there are so many committees. They are turning Kolkata into London. Are they oxen?”
“As a filmmaker I made a film which I wanted to. Now if it has some political undercurrents it doesn’t mean those in power have the power to ban the film. They are trying to gag us,” Mukhopadhyay said.
Haranath Chakraborty, film maker and member of the Board, said that he was against the release of the film since it contained abusive language. “How can you pass such a film?” he asked. Chakraborty is also one of the key members of Mamata’s cultural think-tank group. “It is clear under whose directions the film was denied release,” the director said.
Film makers like Buddhadeb Dasgupta have questioned the role of the Board. “Who will decide what is obscene or what is not — Censor Board or film maker or audience? Even my films had problems with the Board,” Dasgupta said.

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