‘Vindicated,’ Says Anik Dutta After SC Order On Bhobishyoter Bhoot
The Supreme Court on Friday, 15 March, asked the chief secretary and principal secretary of the West Bengal government to ensure that director Anik Dutta’s movie Bhobishyoter Bhoot is screened.
After a month of protests by the makers of the film and members of the film fraternity and civil society, the Supreme Court, hearing a writ petition, directed the West Bengal government to ensure that there is no obstruction in the screening of the film, and that adequate security measures are taken to facilitate the same.
Hearing the petition filed by Indibily Creative Pvt Ltd, the court said:
“Repeatedly in decisions of this court it has been held that once a film has been duly certified by CBFC, it is not open to any authority, either of the state government or otherwise, to issue formal or informal directions preventing the producer from having the film screened. Such actions of the State directly impinge upon the fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.”
Speaking to The Quint after the Court’s direction, director Anik Dutta said that he felt “vindicated”.
“It’s a sense of vindication. Not like we are rejoicing or anything. This was expected. There is something called a judiciary in our country which believes in upholding ‘trivial’ things like freedom of expression. I don’t know if the people who have been directed will abide by this, though.”Anik Dutta to The Quint
“One of the exhibitors have said that they’ve got instructions from ‘authorities’ and that in legal terms means the State”, added Dutta.
At the time of publishing this article, the movie was still out of theatres.
Bhobishyoter Bhoot released in theatres across Kolkata and West Bengal on 15 February. However, just two days after its release, it “mysteriously” disappeared from all screens across Kolkata, without any official order or circular to the producers. When asked cine-owners first cited technical snags and then said that they were asked by “higher authorities” to not screen the film. They were also warned of law and order issues.
On Sunday 10 March, Dutta, the cast and crew of Bhobishyoter Bhoot, along with members of the Bengal film fraternity like Aparna Sen and Soumitra Chatterjee, held a protest march in South Kolkata to demand that the gag on the film be removed.
They were also joined by hundreds of ordinary citizens.
When asked about this issue earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had refused to react, saying, “Don’t ask me such questions!”