CBFC member reacts to Mamata Banerjee's ban on The Kerala Story in West Bengal: 'You can't decide fate of the film'

May 10, 2023 09:00 AM IST

CBFC member Vani Tripathi has said that the West Bengal government 'can't decide' a ban on The Kerala Story. The film has been helmed by Sudipto Sen.

After the West Bengal government decided to ban The Kerala Story in the state, actor and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) member Vani Tripathi reacted to it. In a new interview, Vani said that it is for people to decide and take a call on a film. She also called the move 'undemocratic'. (Also Read | Producers Guild of India raises strong objection on ‘state-enforced’ ban on The Kerala Story, says it is ‘distressed’)

The official poster of The Kerala Story which released on May 5.
The official poster of The Kerala Story which released on May 5.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee recently ordered an immediate ban on the screening of the film in the state to avoid "any incident of hatred and violence". Directed by Sudipto Sen, The Kerala Story depicts how women from Kerala were forced to convert to Islam and recruited by the terror group ISIS.

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Speaking with News18, Vani said, “You are taking away the democratic right of the audience, which will decide the fate of the film. You cannot decide it, I cannot decide it, even a producer can’t decide (the fate of the film). It will be the people who will decide if the movie talks to them, whether it creates a bridge between then and what filmmakers are saying."

She added, "Every film does not need to be a tearjerker, there are films which are dark. But again, at the end of the day, we can only certify a film and that is the only plethora of democratic certification in this country. If that is also getting hampered, then bhagwaan hi malik hai (God alone can save it)."

Recently, the Producers Guild of India condemned the ban on The Kerala Story. Multiplexes across Tamil Nadu also cancelled screenings of the film from Sunday, citing law and order issues and poor public response.

The Producers Guild of India statement shared on Twitter read, "The Producers Guild of India is distressed by, and would like to record its strong objection to, state-enforced bans on The Kerala Story. As emphasized by us on several occasions in the past, film releases are regulated by CBFC and any film that complies with this statutory requirement should face no further hurdles in having the paying public decide on its fate."

It also added, "Of course, the audience can choose to watch or ignore any film but that is a choice that should be theirs to make, not one that is imposed on them by any party other than CBFC. We call upon all the relevant authorities to urgently address this all-too-frequent phenomenon of films being denied their right to unfettered, nation-wide exhibition despite having duly complied with regulatory requirements."

The film, which released on May 5, has kicked up a political storm. The Kerala Story stars Adah Sharma and has been produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah's Sunshine Pictures.

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