Ray-Founded Film Society Faces Eviction, Seeks Heritage Tag

RBN Web Desk: The Calcutta Film Society (CFS), one of the oldest organisations of its kind in Kolkata, has sought a heritage tag from the West Bengal government to prevent eviction. The society has approached the West Bengal Heritage Commission (WBHC) in this regard.

CFS faces eviction from its current premises because of non-payment of rent. The organisation operates from a building owned by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LICI) at a monthly rent of ₹5,335.

According to CFS general secretary Swapan Bandyopadhyay, rent has been pending for the last 14 months, but they are now ready to pay off the entire dues. A meeting with LICI officials is slated to be held later today over the issue. LICI has been very cooperative, Bandyopadhyay said, adding that it was still a little harsh on their part to ask the society to vacate the premises.

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CFS was founded in 1947 by auteur Satyajit Ray, eminent film critic Chidananda Dasgupta, and renowned production designer Bansi Chandragupta. The three were close friends. Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, the 1925 Soviet classic, was the first film to be screened by the society. There are more than 2,550 rare books in the CFS library. The society holds regular seminars and screenings of international films. CFS has around 350 members.

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Bandyopadhyay told the media that he has already written twice to the WBHC to grant them a heritage tag.

Veteran artist Suvaprasanna Bhattacharjee, chairman of WBHC, admitted that CFS has approached the commission. A blue plaque can be installed in the society’s office to indicate its cultural importance. But CFS, Suvaprasanna said, has to come up with a more concrete proposal if it wants to operate from its current premises in the future.

Image: oscars.org

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