Kolkata: The city’s film fraternity, at an impromptu gathering in the city today, raised the protest decibel against the withdrawal of Bhobishyoter Bhoot from the theatres. The film, directed by Anik Dutta, was pulled out from halls on 16 February.
A number of multiplex and single screen owners have claimed that they were instructed by ‘higher authorities’ to stop screening the film.
Addressing the gathering in front of the Academy of Fine Arts, veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee said, “A film being withdrawn from the halls within a day of its release is unprecedented in this state. I strongly believe that the incident is an outcome of vengeance and is nothing short of a crime. Such fascist action should be stopped immediately or else cultural activities in the state will be at a greater risk in future.”
Some quarters believe that Dutta’s comments during the 2018 Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) prompted the administration to coerce hall owners to take off the film. Dutta, at a KIFF seminar, had rued about the huge cutouts and banners of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, instead of filmmakers and film actors, placed all over the city as part of the festival’s promotion. Nowhere in the world, he said, does a film festival get overshadowed by a pseudo-political propaganda.
Actress Saayoni Ghosh questioned, “What wrong did Dutta say? The city was indeed plastered with those banners and cutouts. It seems sycophancy is the order of the day in our state.”
Actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, who plays a major role in Bhobishyoter Bhoot, said that the police had no business in asking for a preview of the film. “Once a film is cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification, it can be exhibited anywhere in India. The film has been withdrawn arbitrarily which is a blatant infringement on the freedom of expression,” he added.
Theatre activist Sohag Sen read out a message from Aparna Sen. “I am appalled to know that Anik’s film has been removed from the theatres just a day after its release. Whoever has instructed the pullout should be held accountable for flouting fundamental rights. I condemn the incident in no uncertain terms,” Sohag Sen quoted the filmmaker as having said.
Besides Dutta, leading film and theatre artistes including Barun Chanda, Chandan Sen, Kaushik Sen, Shantilal Mukherjee, Chandrayee Ghosh, Gaurav Chakrabarty, Debolina Dutta, Arindol Bagchi, Sumit Samaddar and others attended the gathering.
The producers of the film will be moving court to seek a re-release of the film.
Bhobishyoter Bhoot opened on 15 February to positive reviews.