Ode to Mamata and Stalin: Censor Board stops Bengali film critical of the two

The Central Board of Film Certification, under the I&B ministry, refused to certify director Suman Mukhopadhyay's Bengali film adaptation of Nabarun Bhattacharya's novel Kangal Malsat - a rivetting political satire.

Mukhopadhyay's film weaves Bengal's contemporary political narrative into the novel and also hinges itself on the the anti-land acquisition movement that Mamata Banerjee led in Singur, against the Tata Nano project and the West Bengal government.



According to a report on Times Now, the board stayed the release of the film citing the use of abusive language in it. "They said that Stalinists might be hurt by the content of the film. They have also said that the Singur movement has been misrepresented and Mamata Banerjee's portrayal is not to their liking," Mukhopadhyay told Times Now.

According a report in The Telegraph, the move by the censor board followed a recommendation by the state’s revising committee - one that is headed by a Mamata-loyalist, filmmaker Haranath Chakraborty. TT reports:

According to Mukhopadhyay, the stumbling block was the “ending of the film that contained funny but critical comments about Calcutta turning into London and Tata’s departure from Singur”. The state panel feels the scene might “hurt sentiments” and create “unrest” or “violence”

Chakraborty, while talking to The Telegraph, defended their decision and said: "The film is full of slang and obscene dialogues."

Mukhopadhyay, on his website, says about Kangal Malsat, which was turned into a play, before it was made into a film: "The political carnivalesque and the scornful burlesque prompted me to make a play out of the novel. The roughness, rawness and the immediacy are the essence of the production. I tried to maintain the agitational-propagandist spirit in the making. It is a play of our times, black times."

True to the nature of a burlesque, the director resorted to the use of hyperboles and irreverence while commenting in the political climate of the state - a move possibly being read as malicious by the government of West Bengal.

Mukhopadhyay has now written to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal in Delhi, requesting to look into the matter.

The review committee of the tribunal, which has the power to overrule the CBFC, will watch the film and discuss it with Mukhopadhyay and producer Pawan Kanodia in Delhi on March 4.

Updated Date: Feb 25, 2013 12:30 PM

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