Icons of the Bengali film industry, including Aparna Sen and Soumitra Chatterjee, will take to the streets this Sunday against bar on the screening of 'Bhobisyoter Bhoot' (Future Ghosts), a political satire, at cinema halls in the city.
The film was allegedly withdrawn from single screen theatres and multiplexes a day after its release on February 16. Director of the film, Anik Dutta, has alleged that the owners of the theatres were forced to stop the screening though it ran to packed houses in many places on the day it released.
An appeal to join the march in the city, issued by industry stalwarts such as Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sen, Tarun Majumder, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, veteran poet Sankha Ghosh, said, "Amra Hatbo Dale Dale, Chhobi Phirchhena Kano Hall-a" (We will walk in large numbers to ask why the film is not coming to theatres).
The story of the film revolves around a group of ghosts, including a politician, who assemble at a refugee camp and try to be relevant in contemporary times."It is a deplorable act, the way a film was taken off theatres within a day of its release," Dasgupta told PTI.
The multiple National Award-winning directors said he will participate in the rally despite poor health "as everyone should protest such undemocratic and fascist act where a film is stopped from screening but there is no word from any quarters about the reasons"."I think everyone should join the protests," Dasgupta added.
In a statement, director Aparna Sen said, "I am appalled to learn that Anik Dutta's film has been removed from theatres after the first date of screening. I do not know who or what is responsible for this. I do not know what the film had to say, but whatever it may be there cannot and should not be any reason to stop its screening without flouting the fundamental right granted by our Constitution to every individual, freedom of speech."Director Sandip Ray said he might not be able to attend the protest march because of other commitments but he would send a letter where "I will register my protest against the move (withdrawal)".
Young film-maker Utsav Mukherjee, one of the organisers of the protest, said, "Personalities like Aparna Sen, Soumitra Chatterjee, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Sankha Ghosh, among others have issued appeal for the rally and we hope that thousands will turn up that day."The film has Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Moon Moon Sen, Kaushik Sen and veterans Barun Chanda and Paran Bandyopadhyay in leading roles. The cast and crew of the film has held several protest meets across the city over the past few weeks.
At an earlier protest meet, Chatterjee, who is 84, had said, "I am stunned. How can a film, passed by the Censor board, can be withdrawn from theatres in such a manner? It is autocracy.""...the step to withdraw Bhobisyoter Bhoot from Kolkata theatres after release looks like a revengeful step for me...There is ample reason to infer that the step to take off the film from theatres is related to some comments made by director Anik Dutta at a discussion in recent Kolkata International Film Festival," Chatterjee had said in an open letter penned to voice his protest.
Dutta, who is known for his outspokenness, had earlier hinted during an interview that he had to face lots of pressure during the making of the film and promotion.He said the multi-plex owners and theatres could not produce any written document or instruction with regard to sudden halt in screening of the film.The film had been released in more than 40 screens across the state.