Film ban: When did Mamata become an admirer of Stalin?

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Kolkata, Feb 25: Director of Bengali film Kangal Malsat (War Cry of Beggers) Suman Mukhopadhyay on Sunday slammed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for denying certificate of approval to his film. He said it was dangerous for a democratic state to stop artists from expressing their views freely.

Many reasons for raising objection

A letter issued issued by the revising committee of the CBFC said the way the departure of the Tata company was shown in the film, it belittled a movement led by the civic society. The committee, which functions under the frameworks of the CBFC, looks after the release of regional films and its members are appointed by the state government.


The panel, chaired by filmmaker Haranath Chakraborty who is known to be close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, also said that the CM's oath-taking ceremony of 2011 was shown in a distorted way in the film and it could hurt the sentiments of the common people and encourage sensationalism.

Objection has also been raised about projecting Joseph Stalin in a negative light, something which could adversely influence the former leader's admirers and over containing sexual content. Chakraborty is known to be close to Banerjee and acts a bridge between the state government and the artistes of the local film industry.

Rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman plays the main character of the film, which is based on a 2003 novel by Nabarun Bhattacharya. Both Suman and Bhattacharya have slammed the state government for such cultural crackdown.

Not the first time

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government which had come to power in 2011 raising a huge hope of bringing a change in a stagnant Bengal, has been found to be more interested in running an authoritarian show, even trying to outdo some of the most tyrannical regimes in the world. In the recent past, the state government was found to be clamping down on the screening of a film, Teen Kanya, for portraying the controversial Park Street rape incident.

The chief minister revealed the shoddy administrator in her when she said the rape incident as a concocted story and no proceeding has been made in the case even after a year has lapsed.

A similar incident occurred in North Bengal a few days ago when a veteran theatre director and his crew were threatened for allegedly using the TMC's political slogan in their drama. The local police was also accused of turning a blind eye to the victims and the director was made to apologise. Even more recently, novelist Salman Rushdie was not allowed to enter the state on the charges that communal harmony could be threatened.

Mukhopadhyay's film has been sent to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal to decide its fate. But whatever be the result, questions are being raised about blocking the film on the ground of hurting Stalin's admirers! Even the non-Left regime after a historical change is showing concern for Stalin? It conveys a simple message: Authoritative power doesn't identify ideology. It only identifies power.

Mukhopadhyay's debut film Herbert was stopped from being stalled during the Left Front days,And now Kangal Malsat. Will creative minds ever find them in tune to power-hungry politicians?

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