A controversy has erupted over allowing the Upasana Griha (prayer hall) of Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University to be made a venue of the shooting of a film which has BJP’s Babul Supriyo as an actor.
The stained glass temple, also known as Kaach Mandir, built by Rabindranath Tagore’s father Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, was intended by the Maharshi to be a place only for offering prayers to Lord Brahma.
Anil Konar, member-secretary of Santiniketan Trust said, “According to the deed prepared by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, no activity other than offering prayers to Bramha can be undertaken. Allowing a film to be shot there has hurt the sentiment of the people of Santiniketan”.
The unit of the film Posto, directed by Shiboprosad Mukherjee of Belaseshe fame, said that the controversy is unnecessary since prior permission was taken from the university authorities by producer Atanu Roy Chowdhury.
Chowdhury said, “We had received the required permission for the shoot. We have shot ‘Belaseshe’ in Santiniken too. Never did we face any problem while shooting in Santiniketan. I feel an unnecessary controversy is being created.”
Swapan Kumar Dutta, the officiating vice-chancellor of Visva-Bharati, admitted that the permission was indeed given. “They completed shooting in the campus after we gave the permission. They followed all instructions regarding the use of Kaach Mandir. Neither have they violated the rituals nor caused any damage to the structure of the temple,” he said.
According to Visva-Bharati insiders, the appearance of Babul Supriyo created the controversy. Babul visited the vice-chancellor last Thursday and immediately after the meeting, a section of people started saying that the temple’s sanctity was broken by allowing the shooting.
On Saturday, TMC minister Subrata Mukherjee in a programme at Bolpur near Santiniketan exhorted the students to proteston this issue, adding fuel to the fire.