“We have already faced a lot of social stigma since 2004. We do not want those days to return,” said Gangadhar Chatterjee, elder brother of Dhananjay Chatterjee who was hanged in 2004 for the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Kolkata. The family is objecting to the film Dhananjay, released on August 11, calling it a “betrayal” and “insulting”.
Gangadhar (60), his younger brother Bikas Chatterjee (40) their 11 family members live in Kuldihi village of Bankura district.
“We are poor. Therefore, no one is listening. We wrote to the director (Arindam Sil), and then to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) too. They ignored us and film was released. We are going through trauma once again,” said Bikas.
The Indian Express obtained a copy of the letter to the film certification board from CBFC sources. Written in Bengali, the letter dated 1.8.2017 states: “The director tried to lure us with some money and pressurise us to give permission for a film on our brother. We expressed our disagreement wholeheartedly. But later we learnt he went ahead with the film. We could have gone to the courts, but due to poor financial condition we could not. We appeal to you not to release the film…”
“The director came and offered us Rs 10,000 or 20,000. We told him we did not need a single paisa. We just wanted to be left undisturbed. Why rake up the issue again?” Gangadhar said. Dhananjay was convicted in one of the most controversial cases in Kolkata — the rape and murder of Hetal Parekh, an 18-year-old, at her residence in Bhawanipore in 1990. Dhananjay — a security guard at the apartment — was sentenced to death in 2004. In the letter Bikas claims to have written to Sil dated 15.7.2017, also available with The Indian Express, he accuses him of falsely claiming to have taken the family’s permission.
“You had come to my house to talk about a film you were making on my elder brother Dhananjay Chattopadhayay. Next day, I called you up on behalf of my family, asking you not to go ahead with the film. Later, you told the media you had taken our permission to go ahead with the film… Now, we are suffering from mental trauma and a number of other problems as a result of your decision…,” the letter read.
When contacted, Sil denied receiving the letter. “I have received no letter from them (Dhananjay’s kin). As far as I know they are very happy over the way Dhananjay has been portrayed in the film. I am busy right now.”
Gangadhar further claimed the film had been blocked at CBFC Kolkata, but was later granted release with ‘A’ certificate from the board’s Mumbai headquarters.
“We did not have money to fight my brother’s case. We, like many, believe my brother was innocent and there was a conspiracy. It was only with circumstantial evidence that the court declared him guilty,” said Bikas.