Literary meet paid for his Mumbai -Kolkata flight ticket, tweets the filmmaker

A day after the controversial author Salman Rushdie’s visit to the city was called off at the last minute, filmmaker Deepa Mehta said the organisers of the Kolkata Literary Meet had invited him.

“[Rushdie] was going to be a surprise guest... Lit meet paid 4 his tkt [Mumbai-Kolkata flight ticket],” tweeted the Indo-Canadian director of Midnight’s Children, based on Mr. Rushdie’s book of the same name. Mr. Rushdie, in turn, retweeted Ms. Mehta’s tweet on Thursday.                                 

The 1981 Booker Prize winner for Midnight’s Children, and Ms. Mehta were scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday to promote the film. 

However, the organisers of the literary meet had said Mr. Rushdie was never scheduled to attend it, though Ms. Mehta was to have come but she could not make it. 

Only Rahul Bose, who is playing General Zulfikar in the film, could attend the event. 

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff said: “It is very unfortunate that Salman Rushdie was not allowed to visit Kolkata. I can’t really judge how his trip would have been, had he come to Kolkata.” On the sidelines of an event here, she said: “These kinds of religious intolerance are dangerous for a secular country like India. Small groups can hold a country hostage. It is very important to create a general attitude against such things.”                                            

Dr. Ptaff said: “People should learn from Netaji’s Indian National Army how to co-exist as different communities and religious groups.”

Criticising Wednesday’s developments, Mahasweta Devi, litterateur and social activist, said: “Kolkata has been an open city for all kinds of cultural activities and people. It is unfortunate that he [Rushdie] could not come. He should have been welcome to the city with all the respect.” 

“None should be forbidden to the city, be it filmmakers or artists. It should be always open to all,” she added.