KOLKATA: Family members of auteur Ritwik Ghatak have issued a statement alleging that Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, have "misappropriated" content from his films for its promotional video in support of the contentious citizenship law and "discriminatory" NRC.
The saffron party, however, argued that Ghatak's films cannot be the "property" of a single family and just one dialogue had been used in the campaign video to serve a "greater cause".
The statement, undersigned by 24 family members of the mercurial filmmaker who died in 1976, said, "We, the family members of Ritwik Ghatak, strongly condemn the attempt by BJP's youth wing to use contents of his films for supporting a discriminatory act like Citizenship (Amendment) Act."
"Ghatak, a believer in humanism and secular ideals, had always highlighted the plight of refugees and marginalised people who had been displaced due to social and political turbulence," the statement said.
Among the signatories are actor Parambrata Chatterjee and economist Maitreesh Ghatak.
"This act of using any content from his films - which does not fit into the context - to support a law which seeks re-establishment of identity, talks about the possibility of taking away citizenship of a particular minority community is deemed unacceptable. It violates the values and principles espoused by Ghatak," the statement added.
Refuting the allegations, BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said just one dialogue was used from Ghatak's classic 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' in the promotional video.
"One family cannot be the custodian of a filmmaker like Ghatak, whose work appeals to a vast section of people. We have every right to use a dialogue from his film," Bhattacharya said.
Insisting that the video, where the dialogue has been apparently used, was yet to be released in public domain, Bhattacharya said, "The protest, engineered by a section of intellectuals, has political undercurrent." Unlike claims made by some, Ghatak was not a Leftist throughout his life, he asserted.
"Ritwik Ghatak, (singer) Debabrata Biswas, (thespian) Utpal Dutt - all three personalities had differences with the communist camp in the state and came out of its fold at one point of time," the BJP leader stated.
Ghatak, primarily remembered for his conscientious depiction of social reality, Partition and feminism in his films, was honoured with Padma Shri by the government in 1970.
Notable among his repertoire are 'Ajantrik', 'Meghe Dhaka Tara', 'Komol Gandhar', 'Subarnarekha', 'Jukti, Takko Ar Gappo'.