Bengali film ‘Kangal Malsat’ (War Cry of the Poor), which allegedly criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Singur movement, has failed to get the approval of the Censor Board.
The Censor Board stopped the release of the film directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay saying that the film’s “unnecessary use of abusive language, sexuality and casual approach in portraying social movements may hurt the sentiments of many people in our society”.
On the face of it while these may have been the Censor Board’s main rationale, oblique criticism of Mamata and her famous anti-land acquisition movement in Singur could be the real reason.
“The way the honourable CM’s oath-taking ceremony has been shown seems to be a distortion of history and may hurt many common people of West Bengal and create sensation (violence),” the Censor Board wrote in its letter to the producers.
The film was blocked on the recommendations of the Censor Board’s revising committee, whose members have been appointed by Mamata herself. Filmmaker Haranath Chakraborty, who is one of the main members of Mamata’s cultural panel, heads the committee. The film’s lead actor and rebel TMC MP Kabir Suman said that the Censor Board was over-reacting.
“The reasons they’ve cited are meaningless. There is not an iota of Singur mentioned in our dialogues. It is a burlesque and has nothing to do Nandigram, Singur etc,” Suman told Express.
Suman’s character in the movie seemingly takes a jibe at Mamata’s promise to turn Kolkata into London and also mentions the Tatas.
“The Tatas have cut a sorry figure. Now there are so many committees. They are making Kolkata into London,” Suman says in the film. The Censor Board defended its decision saying, “the way the departure of Tata company was uttered in the film, seemed to malign or at least look down upon a significant movement of a civic society”.
Suman, who has been a critic of Mamata and the functioning of the party, scoffed at the allegations. “I’ve said Kolkata will be made into London. Can’t a character say that?” he asked.
The film’s director has approached the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal complaining of “political discrimination” by the state government.
The film is based on a book written by Nabarun Bhattacharya, son of Magsaysay award-winning author Mahasweta Devi.