Bajrang Dal supporters on Saturday took out a rally, backed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, to protest against the state administration’s alleged decision to not allow the screening of a film based on the life of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee. The rally, which began at Swami Vivekananda house and ended in Shyambazar More, saw around 200 people hitting the streets for the release of Danga — The Riot.
“It’s a double-standard attitude of the government. During Padmaavat they provided extra security and now they are not allowing the screening of this movie because it is based on the 1946 Calcutta killings. We demand that the film should be allowed in all cinema halls like it has been released in other states like Jharkhand and Bihar,” said Sourish Mukherjee, state VHP media-in-charge.
When contacted by The Sunday Express, film director Milan Bhowmick said, “I am a film Director and not a political person to participate in the rally but I welcome the protest. I believe art is above everything. The people who follow Syama Prasad Mookerjee must have been excited to watch the film and hence they are on road demanding release of the film”. Bhowmick had earlier said the movie was scheduled to release in 103 movie halls in the state. However, he alleged that he kept receiving calls from cinema hall owners, all of them refusing to screen his movie. The bi-lingual film was released without issue in Bihar, Jharkhand, Agartala and Assam.
Cinema hall owners had earlier claimed that they had been told by officials to not screen the film, considering it sensitive especially during the panchayat election period. They also said they had not received anything in writing. The movie, starring Gajendra Chauhan as Mookerjee, features a poem penned by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. The title of the Hindi version is 1946 Calcutta Killings.