Mamata Banerjee's photographs during the film fest at Nandan that had created a controversy.
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Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today refused to answer as to why Bhobishyoter Bhoot (Ghosts of the Future) ~ a Bengali socio-political satirical film ~ has been taken down from movie halls in the state under alleged instruction of the police.

“I will not answer. Don’t ask me this question,” Banerjee told a reporter during a news conference at state secretariat Nabanna this afternoon.

She was addressing the media to highlight RSS-BJP’s alleged ploy to incite riots by exploiting the Pulwama terror attack. The question was asked towards the end of presser.

Banerjee’s refusal to answer the question on suspension of screening of Bhobishyoter Bhoot comes even as she happens to be the state’s home as well as information & cultural affairs minister.

Also, it indicates that her government is not paying a heed to the sit-in by movie buffs at state-owned Star Theatre yesterday and, the advice by veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee to retract from the “fascist policy” of stopping the screening of a movie.

“I strongly condemn such fascist policy even if they stay undercover. I hope that those responsible for this will realise that this is undemocratic and will make amends,” Chatterjee had said in a hand-scribbled protest letter that was read out at the sit-in.

The protest letter by Soumitra Chatterjee.

Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a film directed by Anik Dutta released to packed-theatres on 15 February. This is because his previous film, Bhooter Bhobishyot (Future of the Ghosts), released in 2012, had received high accolades.

“The latest release is a satire, which has message critical of all political dispensation ~ Left, Right, Centre,” Kaushik Sen, who has acted in the film said.

The film was taken down from movie halls in Kolkata and the rest of Bengal the very next day afternoon, that is, on 16 February, with the owners citing a verbal advisory from the police saying that its screening may led to law and order situation.

As Chatterjee has mentioned in his protest letter, many in the Bengali film industry as well as the common people also believe that Dutta’s new release has been withdrawn from movie screens as he had passed remarks critical of the Chief Minister last November.

The director, who is in his early 50’s, had questioned as to why Nandan, the venue of the 24th Kolkata Film Festival, was flooded by the CM’s photographs. There should have been more photographs of directors and actors he had maintained.

Since then, state government publicity materials are scarcely using Banerjee’s photographs. Instead, they now by default use a declaration: “At the encouragement of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”