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West Bengal government is impatient and intolerant in cultural matters: filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay

IBNLive.com
Feb 27, 2013 at 05:39pm IST

The Bengali film 'Kangal Malsat' is based on the anarchist novel of Nabarun Bhattacharya and explores the dark underbelly of a city which fights the state power. The part real, part surreal narrative has been made into a movie which has been denied clearance by the Kolkata chapter of Central Board of Film Certification for allegedly being disrespectful towards Stalin and Mamata Banerjee and containing expletives and abusive words.

Is the CBFC refusal to clear 'Kangal Malsat' another attempt to curb artistic freedom? Suman Mukhopadhyay, director of Bengali film 'Kangal Malsat', joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

West Bengal government is impatient and intolerant in cultural matters: filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay

Is the CBFC refusal to clear 'Kangal Malsat' another attempt to curb artistic freedom?

Q. Is Mamata becoming dictatorial like communist? It may reveal her partial attitude as like communists. Asked by: sathyaki

A. Of course, the symptoms of dictatorial attitude are apparent. It is almost repetition of the Left Government. But I never expected it to happen so fast. However, the people nominated by the government to different committees are showing too much eagerness to be close to her. And they are true trouble makers. But however, CM Mamata Banerjee's work style is authoritarian. And, therefore, the problematic is getting deeper.

Q. Read Mr Bhattacharya's novel, absolutely loved it. How are you recreating the flying moments and the saucers? Are you sticking to the book or are you taking a lot of liberties? Asked by: Aslam Sheikh

A. The novel is a landmark. I recreated some moments of the flying men and saucers. But, as you know, that while adapting a literary piece to cinema, one has to go through lots of changes. I have updated the novel to contemporary times.

Q. The book has already sold more than 15000 copies and it has been staged way back in 2006. So why do you think they are having problems with the film? Asked by: Lopamudra Haldar

A. I guess the problem is with the updating of the novel in the film adaptation. It is jocularly critical about certain issues of the new Government in Bengal. But the objections of the CBFC are ridiculous. It proves their insular, immatured mindset and lack of humour.

Q. Does the film actually paint Mamata Banerjee in a bad light? Asked by: Sasikumar N

A. Not at all. I have no intention to paint the CM in bad light. But I, as a filmmaker, has the right to be critical about any political matters or political personalities. I stand for the freedom of an artist.

Q. Have you agreed to the cuts? Or are you sticking to your gun? Asked by: Mallika Gogoi

A. I have not agreed to the cuts recommended because they are prejudiced and is politically biased.

Q. Does this have anything to do with the facts that neither you or Nabarun are Trinamool supporters and Kabir Sumon, an actor, in the film is a detractor within its ranks? Asked by: Ratul Banerjee

A. I guess, yes.

Q. Could please tell me why your film should not be banned? Asked by: Novendu

A. Please explain, why any film should be banned.

Q. Don't you think it's ironic that a director like Haranath Chakrabarty gets to judge films of such genres that he is completely alien to? Asked by: Robi Chowdhury

A. I agree with you. It is unfortunate. 'Satya Selukas, bichitro ei desh'! I guess you are a Bengali.

Q. Is cultural intolerance increasing in Bengal? Asked by: gaurav

A. It is evident from recent events that this Government is impatient and intolerant in cultural matters.

Q. Is the CBFC refusal to clear 'Kangal Malsat' another attempt to curb artistic freedom? Asked by: Kamya

A. What else? CBFC is a Certification Board not 'moral police.' They should rate a film. I personally, is against any kind of censorship. In a democratic country like India, should CBFC dictate a filmmaker? not granted.

Q. If you could give 3 important pointers to a first time filmmaker, what would they be? Asked by: Farhan

A. Be truthful. Be honest. "Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say." (From KIng Lear)

Q. If you were to make another movie based on a book, which one would that be? Asked by: sri

A. Hamlet.

Q. What was the total production budget of this movie? Asked by: RR

A. It is made in a shoe-string budget. Shot in 5D and with many new actors.

Q. Who inspired you to choose this subject? Asked by: Harry

A. The times. "The function of the artist is to express reality as felt".

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