Kolkata: Film lovers will get an opportunity to watch Ketan Mehta's unreleased film Rang Rasiya and Bangladeshi film Meherjaan, which was withdrawn from theatres following a controversy, during the upcoming Kolkata
Film Festival (KFF).
A biopic on 19th century painter Raja Ravi Varma, Rang Rasiya has courted controversy for taking artistic freedom in boldly depicting nudity. With Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen playing lead roles, the 2008 film is yet to release in cinema halls following a dispute between Mehta and the distributors. The film has earlier won applause at international film festivals in Cannes, London, New York and Florence. Besides Thiruvananthapuram, Kolkata will be the second Indian city to have a public screening.
Mehta and Nandana are expected to be present during the screening on November 15 at Nandan. Two other screenings are also scheduled during the eight-day film extravaganza.
Meherjaan, on the other hand, will be screened on November 12 with some of the cast and crew planning to visit the city. Directed by Rubaiyat Hossain, the film, which stars Victor Banerjee and Jaya Bachchan in lead roles along with
some Bangladeshi and Pakistani actors, is about a Bangladeshi woman's love affair with a Pakistani soldier during the 1971 Liberation War. The storyline had triggered a fierce controversy in Bangladesh forcing its distributor to take the movie off cinema halls across the country merely a week after its
release in January this year.
A section of the intellectuals and freedom fighters there had flaked the film for allegedly distorting the country's independence war and humiliating the freedom fighters and 'Biranganas' (Bangladeshi women who were raped by occupation Pakistani troops during the Liberation War). Since then, the 'unofficially banned' film has received critical appreciation and even awards at various film festivals like Moondance International Film Festival and Silent River Film Festival.
"The purpose of Meherjaan is to break the glorious narrative of national history and open up a modest avenue to explore perhaps, not only one or two, but multiple narratives of war," says debutante director Hossain, daughter of
Bangladesh Communication Minister Abul Hossain.
All films made in Bangladesh on the Liberation War have so far been presented in a narrative that set the pro-Liberation War forces on one side and anti-Liberation elements on the other. Meherjaan, however, remains a controversial exception.