Kolkata: Director Milan Bhowmik has written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to take “immediate steps” to ensure that his film Danga, based on 1946 riots in Calcutta, is released in theatres across the State.
The film, which has actor Gajendra Chauhan in the role of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, was scheduled to release in 37 theatres in West Bengal on 27 April, but only two movie halls have agreed to screen it so far, Bhowmik said here today.
Initially, actor Suresh Oberoi was supposed to essay the role of Mookerjee while Tinu Anand was supposed to play Jawaharlal Nehru.
“I have mailed letters to the offices of the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary on 27 April and received a confirmation about the delivery. I am yet to get a reply to my letters,” he explained.
It is sad that a film that has been awarded a U/A certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification did not get a proper release in the State, Bhowmik rued.
“I am now hoping the state government intervenes into the matter to ensure that the film gets screen time in the stipulated theatres,” he said.
The Hindi version of Danga is running successfully in theatres of Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand, Bhowmik said. “The film is doing well in other states. I am facing problems only in Bengal,” he said.
Hinting at sabotage attempts, Bhowmik said the 35 hall owners, who have cancelled shows, must have faced threats of some kind.
[pullquote]It is sad that a film that has been awarded a U/A certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification did not get a proper release in the State
— Milan Bhowmik, director, Danga [/pullquote]
“I guess the theatre owners were threatened by people with vested interests,” the filmmaker said, adding that he would be compelled to move high court if the film does not find screen space in West Bengal.
The film, set in the months leading up to the riots that broke out in the city on 16 August 1946, displays a disclaimer at the very beginning to state that it was aimed at educating the youth about the dangers of communal violence.
‘Danga’ does not glorify riots or vilify any community, the director asserted.
“I have mentioned in the letter that the film does not promote hatred, instead it advocates communal harmony and universal brotherhood. I think I was able to explain this to the CBFC. We did not speak in favour of any political group in the film,” he added.