West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said his government was not in favour of influencing art and culture and wanted free expression of all points of view.
"The government must not issue diktats to the world of theatre and divide it. We want all colours of the rainbow.
This is our endeavour," he said at the inauguration of the 10th drama festival here. Bhattacharjee, criticised for his alleged discriminatory reference to the Opposition as "us and them" in past, said that his government was of the opinion that theatre had an important role to play in commenting on contemporary society.
"The history of theatre teaches us that throughout the ages, dramatists, playwrights and actors played an important role in reflecting popular opinion and warning governments whenever they went wrong," Bhattacharjee, who had himself written a critically acclaimed play 'Dussomoy' after briefly resigning from the Jyoti Basu cabinet in 1993, said.
Earlier, inaugurating the festival, veteran theatre personality Rudraprasad Sengupta reminded out that this was the last drama festival under the present government. "When a new government is installed after the coming Assembly polls, I hope it will continue with the festival," he said and called for an end in the division among theatre workers. The chief minister handed over the 'Dinabandhu' and 'Girish' awards for 2006 to 2010 to various actors and dramatists.