Director Agnideb Chattopadhyay's anti-government Bengali movie Teen Kanya was not screened at the state-run Star theatre here Sunday, prompting the film-maker to threaten legal action.
The suspense-thriller was released Friday across Bengal and shown in private cinema halls. The film is said to bear a resemblance to the real-life Park Street rape case in February, in which an Anglo-Indian woman was raped in a moving car. The theatre is run by Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which is now controlled by West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress. The movie was pulled out of the Star theatre Saturday after being branded anti-government. The theatre did not screen the movie in spite of informing Chattopadhyay that it would show the movie Sunday evening onwards. Chattopadhyay seemed disgusted with the day's developments.
"We have an agreement with the theatre to screen the movie and accordingly we made the advertisements. The movie posters prominently carry the Star theatre name," Chattopadhyay said. "The movie has not been screened in spite of advance booking of tickets. I will take legal action against them and claim compensation," said the director. "The authorities need to come forward and take the responsibility. Somebody has to pay the damage that we have suffered," he said.The director, earlier in the day had claimed that he was informed about the decision by Hemendra Dave, a film distributor who supervises screening of movies at the Star theatre. Dave, later rejected the director's claim and said the movie will not be screened because of its duration (2 hours and 32 mins) and other bookings. The auditorium has been booked for the eight-day Kolkata International Film Festival starting on November 10.
The pulling out of the movie has drawn severe criticism from all quarters including the cast and crew of the movie. The director had even said he was willing to chop off any scenes which the government found objectionable in spite of the fact that the censor board did not suggest any cuts or deletion.
"I was earlier told that the government had objection to a specific word used in the film. Now they are raising issues about its duration, and that the auditorium is booked for other events. I don't know what is happening," said a crest-fallen Chattopadhyay. "The least we want to know is the reason why it was not screened. The government must come forward and tell us about their objection so that we can redress that," Rituparna Sengupta, who plays a pivotal role in the movie, said.
The Park Street rape case had hogged national spotlight after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee initially dubbed the victim's allegation as fabricated. Her comments had drawn severe criticism from all quarters.