Condemning Central Board of Film Certification’s censorship on the documentary made on Amartya Sen, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has tweeted, “If somebody of his stature cannot express himself freely, what hope does the common citizen have.” She has also criticised the Modi government saying, “Every single voice of the opposition is being muzzled. Now, Dr Amartya Sen.” The film which was shot separately in 2002 and 2017 was scheduled to release on Friday.
The film ‘Argumentative Indian’ made by Suman Ghosh was flagged for the use of words like ‘Gujarat’, ‘Hindu India’, ‘Cow’ and ‘Hindutva view of India’. After the screening of the film at CBFC’s regional office in Kolkata on Tuesday, Ghosh was told that the film could be released with a UA certificate if he agreed to slash some controversial words which Sen made in the film in the context of present political scenario in the country.
Addressing the media, Director Suman Ghosh criticised CBFC’s directive saying, “It asked me to beep the word Gujarat as Sen was speaking about Gujarat riots in the documentary. Then it asked me to beep the word cow which in my opinion was very funny. We were also asked to beep words like Hindu and Hindutva. We objected to it. We know how films like Udta Punjab and Lipstick under My Burkha went into controversies following its dispute with CBFC regarding film certification. I don’t agree with what happened with these films and rightfully the opposition voice was raised. But I never thought such parameters would be followed in documentaries which is not a scripted movie and when it is about a person with such international stature. I was a bit shocked to experience this.”
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen told reporters in Santiniketan, “I have nothing to say on this as I have not directed this documentary. I am the subject of the documentary and being a subject of the movie I should not comment on this. The director will give his opinion on this. I don’t want to be a part of this discussion.” Prof Sen added, “If the government has reservation about the documentary then there could be the discussion on such reservation where others would place their opinion. I should not speak on this.”
Every single voice of the opposition is being muzzled. Now, Dr Amartya Sen… 1/2
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 12, 2017
Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee viewed the CBFC’s act as “fascism” and “foolishness”, saying, “This is nothing but foolishness. I don’t know why we still call ours a democratic nation when we don’t have the right to express our pinions and views. The person who has spoken such words is one who has such international repute. This is a kind of fascism. We cannot expect more from a government which bans eating beef.”