Exactly 72 hours before the release of Dark Chocolate, a Bengali feature film inspired by the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, the director and producer of the movie received a legal notice from the lawyer of the prime accused in the case — Peter and Indrani Mukerjea — asking him to stall its screening. However, producer Pradip Churiwal asserted that the film will be released all over the country on September 2, as scheduled.
Directed by Agnidev Chatterjee, the film stars Mahima Chaudhry, Riya Sen, Sudip Mukherjee, Mumtaz Sorcar and Kaushik Sen, among others, and is set for a bilingual release in Bengali and Hindi.
“Khimani and Associates, the advocates of Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, has issued legal notices to us and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) alleging misleading and illegal content. The content of the notice is completely baseless and false. They have referred to an extract from the first order passed by Bombay High Court on February 17, which was modified by another order dated April 7. In the modified order, the court refused to pass an order under the prayer made by the petitioner and allowed us to complete the film and present it to the censor board,” Churiwal said.
In February, lawyers of Peter Mukherjea, a former television czar, had issued a legal notice to CBFC, demanding that Peter’s representatives be shown the film before its commercial release.
The film’s producer said he has the censor certificates for both the Bengali and Hindi versions. The posters and trailers have also been cleared by the CBFC. “I believe a TV channel has shown some tapes which may become evidence of the involvement of the petitioners. In frustration, they are trying to stall the film’s release,” Churiwal said.
But, the producer said, “my advocate has given them a fitting reply and we are going ahead with the film’s release.”
Meanwhile, Bollywood actress Mahima Chaudhry, whose character in the film is said to be based on Indrani Mukherjea, said the script has an uncanny resemblance to the events that are unfolding now. “It’s not unusual for lawyers to send notices like these. The incident shocked everyone. It’s been a year and the motive of the murder is still unclear. We shot the film a month after the incident happened but it’s surreal how Agnidev’s story bears resemblance to the events,” said the actress who shot to fame with Shah Rukh-starrer ‘Pardes’.
Mahima has already won a best actress award for ‘Dark Chocolate’ which was recently premiered at the Festival of Globe (FOG) in California.
Director Agnidev is miffed with the latest developments. “The film is on the verge of release and this kind of anti-publicity is not required. The lawyers apprehend that the film might depict Peter Mukherjea in a bad light. This could be one of the reasons why they are slapping legal notices. But I don’t think the CBI and the Indian judiciary is so porous as to be influenced by one film,” said Chatterjee, who has earlier directed the controversial ‘3 Kanya’, which was inspired by the infamous Park Street gang rape case.