Published On:11 October 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Support pours in for documentary on Muslims

By Subhro Niyogi

Kolkata: Writers, filmmakers, educationists, activists and hundreds of others from different walks of life have come out in support of filmmaker Soumitra Dastidar and have reacted angrily to the manner in which his documentary 'Musalmaner Katha' was denied screening at Nandan on September 30.

Filmmaker Soumitra Dastidar has been overwhelmed by the support from fellow film-makers, educationists, writers, social activists and people from other walks of life who have reacted angrily to the manner in which his documentary 'Musalmaner Katha' has been denied screening at Nandan. The film was abruptly yanked out six days prior to the scheduled show on September 30. That very night, police knocked on Dastidar's door to pick up a copy of the film.

"I am humbled by the support of the filmmaking fraternity and others from different camps and varying political beliefs. Hundreds have signed a petition condemning the police action and the forced withdrawal of 'Musalmaner Katha'. The support has reiterated my resolve to do two other documentaries on Muslims to complete what will be a trilogy on a community that is an integral part of India," Dastidar told TOI before the film was screened at the Muslim Institute on Saturday evening.

Bengal's split in 1947 is considered the defining moment for Bengali Muslims.

The screening was organized by Cinema for Resistance, an all-India organization that rallies for freedom of filmmakers, with Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), Indo-Pak Solidarity Forum, Little Magazine Samannay Samity, Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (Masum) and a host of other rights' groups.

While he has just begun filming the first documentary on Al Ameen Mission that has produced doctors, engineers, lawyers and scientists from the community, Dastidar is researching on Partition that will be the subject of his third film. The filmmaker is overwhelmed by the support from different quarters.

Filmmakers Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Raja Sen, Anand Patwardhan, Sanjay Joshi, Sanjoy Kak; educationists Samik Bandyopadhyay, Sumanta Bandyopadhyay, Jayati Ghosh, Amiya Bagchi, Prabhat Patnaik, professors from Jamia Milia Islamia; writers Arundhati Roy, Antara Deb Sen; social activists Wilfred D'Costa, Gandhian Himangshu Kumar; the cultural front of RSP and Forward Bloc as well as Buddhist monks have pledged their solidarity to Dastidar and condemned the administrative action against the movie because it lacks a certificate from the Censor Board.

Films Division's eastern India branch manager Sumoy Mukherjee insists documentaries screened at Nandan III do not require a censor certificate. It was Films Division and Cine Central that had invited Dastidar to screen his documentary on the plight of Bengali Muslims at the theatre. Dastidar said he would have probably sent the documentary to the Censor Board so that it could be screened to a wider audience but has decided against it, following the unsavory development.

"No written rule was cited to block the film's screening. No official communication was made to explain the reason. I later learned that it was hastily pulled out after a police directive on September 24. The cops who visited me that night were very cordial. But I believe they had no authority to demand a copy of the film. It has been over a week since I handed the DVD to them but they are yet to revert," said Dastidar, who is part of a tribe that is against censorship. The film has already been screened at the Press Club on July 8 and Presidency University Film Festival on September 2.

Dastidar says he is still unable to understand what led to the crackdown on his film when the present government declares itself as the true friend of Muslims. "I have not made any comment in the film; only provided Muslim women, teachers, social activists, cleric et al a voice so that there is a healthy debate. The only controversial person (so far as the government goes) featured in the film is police officer Nazrul Islam. The latter has been outspoken on a host of issues like no Muslim becoming a chief minister, chief secretary, director general of police or commissioner.

A cleric questioned the motive behind the government's decision to pay honorarium to Imams. Others have pointed to how few are in government jobs and how so many are in prison. They have spoken the bare truth that some may find unpalatable," the director said.

While Dastidar is glad that people are protesting against the muzzling of his film, he is also anguished at the reaction of some others, particularly a section of youths on Facebook whose comments reek of fundamentalism. "I am also hurt by the silence of the so-called progressive media and secular parties like the Left despite the likes of Md Salim expressing their solidarity personally," he added.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

About the Author

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 11, 2013. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 11, 2013. Filed under , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

0 comments for "Support pours in for documentary on Muslims"

Leave a reply

Editor's Pick

SPECIAL REPORT: Indian religious leaders strongly protest against South Korean government hounding of Shincheonji Church despite cooperation to contain COVID-19 spread

By Danish Ahmad Khan The government of South Korea is pursuing a discriminatory policy towards Shincheonji Church while accusing it of COVI...

IMO Search Finder

Subscribe IMO