by Aneek Chaudhuri
It seemed as if Hypodermic Theory imposed during the era of Hitler has come into effect once more; this is equated to current era when a potentially more harmful imposition is under the scanner i.e. Moral Policing. Delhi has displayed a cowardly act, I mean the Bengal Association of Delhi to be precise when it comes to displaying vulgar behavior publically. Now, if they had the right to define a particular piece of creation as vulgar, why can’t I?
Being an independent filmmaker and a film critic as well, the incident has proved to be quite hurtful (so has been to many who respect arts, here the word ‘respect; has been diluted with an illiterate behavior). But what actually happened that has compelled me to start off with such a mundane, yet controversial paragraph? Nothing much occurred (at least to the Delhi-ites); but screening of a highly acclaimed Bengali film, Bheetu was deliberately halted that too by the concerned authorities of ‘Bengal Association’ in Delhi. What a shame to bear!
Bheetu is a celebrated piece by Utsav Mukherjee that had recently been accepted by the common movie goers in Bengal, and then what’s the problem here in Delhi? Now, if they claim to be perturbed by the issue of Child Abuse, isn’t that an artifact of withdrawing serious social concerns or the other way round reflects that they might be running away from them. Anyway, the reason does not count in this incidence, as I am more concerned with one’s approach toward arts. To be simpler, Bheetu is a piece of art, and such a behavior reflects their salacious approach and disrespect toward arts.
People are matured enough if Bollywood Tadkas with ‘A’ mark are released at public places, hence, audiences should be labeled as the ultimate authority to decide whether a film is viewable or not, at least if the target is respected if not the piece of art.
What when asked to the authorities regarding the same? All they could do was to exclaim us with remarks like “we were sorry as we did not check the material before screening”, “it did not promote Bengali culture”; such statements bring out two questions: The film was rated to comprise adult content, and then weren’t the authorities expecting matured content? They might not be aware of what ‘A’ means; now, the other question that arises is what exactly is Bengali Culture and promoting it? This is indeed hypocritical when people can be seen conversing in English even when gathered to watch a Bengali film, this actually disrupts the phenomenon to commune.
Bengal has travelled long from Ray or Ghatak days, and it’s equally important for people to appreciate emerging directors and help them stay in line with Bengali culture.
It’s a black day for Bengali Cinema, mark the date: 25th October. Where protests are made in the linear field, this small occurrence can perhaps turn up to be quite tremendous some day; hence, steps should be taken to curate such mentality and leave a sense of artistic liberty in town. Else, I have huge respect for the Capital people.