A day after the release of Bhobishyoter Bhoot, directed by Anik Dutta, the movie was withdrawn from Kolkata theatres on February 16 without any warning. Jayanti Cinema Hall at Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas is the only theatre where the movie is still being screened and is running houseful. Director Anik Dutta speaks to The Indian Express about the episode.
What has been your experience so far after the screenings of Bhobishyoter Bhoot was stopped?
The movie was released on February 15 with a valid censor certificate and it was pulled off the next day. We were not even given a reason or informed prior to the step. Since then, there has been no communication from either the administration or the exhibitors. Producers have sought answers but have not got any response. Now, obviously they will take the legal route.
Since its removal, the movie has received a lot of support from the members of the film fraternity and also film enthusiasts. Has that made an impact on the overall scenario?
It has created a huge uproar in the film fraternity and the society at large. Veteran actors and directors such as Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Tarun Majumdar and Buddhadeb Dasgupta have spoken out against the action. The younger ones starting from actors to directors have also expressed their solidarity. They are constantly egging the government to rectify the step.
Why do you think the screening was stopped a day after its release?
The content of the movie is the reason why it has been removed. Had I made a harmless love story, then things might not have taken this turn. There are many kinds of political dispensations. Obviously one of them wasn’t happy. Though there were no names named in the film, this perhaps was a little too much for them. I am well within my right to be critical or otherwise. I don’t make films just to entertain. This was a satire which I think was entertaining but it reflects on our time.
Do you plan to launch the movie online?
This is for the producers to decide who have to recover the money. They will try and release it in the theatres. Already releases are lined up all across the world, including 20 cities in the US. But that will not cover the cost. The cost will be covered only when the film is released here and tickets are sold. Post this we will look at other avenues, such as Netflix.
Will you be making any fresh appeal to the administration to allow the screening again?
I won’t. I don’t know about the producers, but I made a film with a valid censor certificate. Why should I go around with a begging bowl? It is their duty to see that it runs in the theatres.
Do you think the removal has anything to do with the remarks you made against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at last year’s Kolkata International Film Festival?
It could be, but there are a lot of other comments in the film which might have also ticked them off. In hindsight, I think I could have said something else and not just restrict my comment to the film festival.
(In November last year, Dutta, while speaking at a seminar in Kolkata International Film Festival, had said that the film festival was not about actors and directors but about that “one person” whose posters were all over the festival venues. It was an apparent reference to posters of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that were put up across all festival venues)
Post this episode, will you think twice before making satires in future?
I will make the kind of films that I want to do. It could be satire, thriller or anything else. I have already made another film.