Row after Muslims object to Bengali film

Poster of Zulfiqar  

Controversy erupted over the alleged “denigration” of the Muslim community in a Bengali movie Zulfiqar. The community representatives said the film, directed by award-winning film-maker Srijit Mukherji, had indicated that the key characters, who were Muslims, were all related to criminal activities. The film is also set in the south-western fringe of the city mostly inhabited by the minorities.

Mamata orders ‘cuts’

Following objections from the community, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered “many cuts” in the film, sources said.

The film is directed by one of Chief Minister’s favourite directors Srijit Mukherji, and produced by Shree Venkatesh Films, also considered close to Ms. Banerjee. But Zulfiqar, one of the block buster releases of this Durga Puja, was marred with controversy as it hurt the sentiments of the minorities.

The leadership of a prominent minority organisation, All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, submitted a deputation to Ms. Banerjee expressing objection to certain dialogues and scenes of the film as shown in the trailer. The memorandum to the Chief Minister, with “demand to stop the controversial” film has said that “several scenes and dialogues in the trailer of the movie have hurt Islam and sentiments of Bengali Muslims.” The memorandum highlighted many “objectionable” components in the trailer.

Chairman of the State Minorities Commission Imtiaz Ali Shah told The Hindu that the community representatives reported the incident to the Chief Minister.

However, on not receiving any response from the Chief Minister’s Office, the Youth Federation threatened to launch a “larger agitation” against the film. Eventually, Joint Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Dilip Bandyopadhyay mediated between Federation leader Kamruzzaman and the film-maker. “Mr. Mukherji agreed to address the issues,” Mr. Kamruzzaman said. Mr. Bandyopadhyay confirmed the development.

While Mr. Mukherji could not be reached for comments, sources told The Hindu that the Chief Minister had ordered “many cuts” in the film.

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