Censors block film critical of Mamata, Stalin, director sees ‘political pressure’

The Censor Board has refused to clear a Bengali film for taking potshots at the swearing-in ceremony of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Singur movement that forced the Tatas to exit the state. Starring rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, Kangal Malsat (War cry of the poor) is directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay. It is based on a book written by eminent litterateur Mahasweta Devi's son Nabarun Bhattacharya.

"The way the honourable CM's oath taking ceremony has been shown seems distortion of history and may hurt many common people of Bengal and create sensation," the letter issued by the Central Board of Film Certification to the film's producers, says.

The film shows a person watching the swearing-in ceremony with disdain. The letter says, "The way departure of Tata Company was uttered in the film, it seemed to malign or at least look down upon a significant movement of a civic society. The treatment of the film with unnecessary use of abusive language, sexuality and casual approach in portraying social movements may hurt the sentiments of many people in our society," it said.

The letter claimed that the portrayal of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin has been done so irresponsibly in the film that the dogmatic statement might hurt the sentiments of many of his supporters and create unrest during public screening.

Kangal Malsat has been sent to the film certification appellate tribunal for a review.

Mukhopadhyay, whose first film, Herbert, could not be screened at the Nandan auditorium due to opposition from the then Left Front government, said Kangal Malsat was not cleared by the Board because of "some political pressure" as it showed Mamata's swearing-in ceremony and there was reference to the Singur movement and exit of Tatas. One of the characters, Dandabayas, played by Suman, says in the film, "Just see how the Tatas have cut a sorry figure. Now there are so many committees. They are turning Kolkata into London. Are they oxen?''

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