Exhibitor says Teen Kanya has ‘anti-government’ content

A controversy broke out here on Saturday regarding a decision against the screening of a Bengali film in a theatre of the Trinamool Congress-led city civic body. The director claimed that the reason given to him was that his film was “anti-government” but the State government denied any interference in the matter.

Teen Kanya, a suspense thriller released on Friday, was to have been screened at Star Theatre under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), but its director Agnidev Chatterjee was told subsequently that the authorities had decided against allowing it.

“I was told by the theatre authorities that the screening cannot be allowed as the film was anti-government,” Mr. Chatterjee told The Hindu.

Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee later told reporters that though the theatre hall belonged to the KMC, its functioning was, under an agreement, given to a private organisation, which had the responsibility of deciding on films to be screened there.

“There has been no interference by the government… It has no desire at all to ban any film,” he asserted.

According to Mr. Chatterjee, however, “A rumour is going around that the theme has some similarity with the Park Street rape incident, and the authorities believed it without seeing the film.”

The rape of a 37-year-old woman on Park Street in February and claims by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shortly after, that the incident was “staged,” had drawn severe criticism from different sections of society.

Hemendra Dave, an independent distributor who is involved in the exhibition of films at the theatre, said that the screening wasn’t approved by KMC.

It was Mr. Dave who had told Mr. Chatterjee earlier during the day that the film cannot be screened as it had “anti-government” content.

“I am a responsible filmmaker rather than a political filmmaker. My attempt wasn’t really to antagonise anyone… I am ready to delete certain scenes if the government has problems with them,” Mr. Chatterjee said.

Pointing out that the film is “against rape” he argued that any attempt to prevent its screening was tantamount to advocating rape.

Ananya Chatterjee, who plays the role of a rape victim, said it was very unfortunate that the film wasn’t being allowed to be screened, despite being approved by the Censor Board.

“The character I am playing has the dialogue ‘I have full faith in the law and order system’”, she said, wondering how the film could be branded anti-government.

“I believe that the film isn’t directed against any individual or institution,” she said.

School and Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu had also acted in the film, and according to the director, his presence in the cast guaranteed that it wasn’t directed against the government.

Mayor of KMC Sovon Chatterjee denied any role in the decision.