Today, a Supreme court bench imposed a Rs 20 lac fine against the West Bengal Government of Mamata Bannerjee. It was for the West Bengal government not allowing the screening of a satirical move – “Bhobishyoter Bhoot”.
Interestingly, in the judgment, the judges decried the growing intolerance in the society. They lamented how it has become tough for people to share their views in print, in the theatre or in the celluloid media.
We should remember that recently several movies have not been allowed to be released. Like PM Narendra Modi and Tashkent Files. There was a movement against Accidental Prime Minister as well. In fact, against the strongly hitting movie Tashkent Files, Congress functionaries – the grandsons of Shastri have been used to file cases. They, who had loved the screening of the movie, are now the ones who have filed the cases.
Vivek told a news agency on Wednesday, “We have been sent a legal notice last night demanding to stop the release of the film. Three days ago, we had the film’s screening in Delhi where he (Shastri’s grandson) watched the film, loved it and appreciated it. I don’t know what happened, but I have a feeling that someone from the top family of Congress has coerced him to send us the legal notice. This is not a propaganda film. I don’t know why people have a problem with the film. I am yet to respond to the notice. I am planning to hold a press conference.” (source)
The judges suggested that it was the right of the play-wright, artist, musicians or actors to question and to provoke.
This needs to be understood that West Bengal has always been a state – whether during the government of the Leftists and even more so in the times of Mamata Bannerjee, that expressions which did not conform to one hue of political or social way were always quashed. Always.
In that, one can disagree with the honorable Supreme Court in that the intolerance is “growing”. It is probably not. Actually, it may be that the acts of intolerance of the kind that were hidden are coming out more. For example, how many know of what Utpal Dutt went through in Bengal when he wanted to show the historical events surrounding the 1946 Naval Mutiny? Was that not intolerance?
Per the media, the intolerance is only when one side of the political spectrum reacts to attempts to demonize them. When they voice their concerns. When, however, a movie is made against what are considered as “Secular” icons or parties or ideas, suddenly all pretensions of freedom of expressions go away.
In fact, there is a case being made by many that the judiciary in India needs to unshackle the common man from legal weapon that court has to silence the criticism of the judiciary. By using “contempt of court”, the judiciary does tend to stop any critique of its working as well.
Here is the trailer of the movie – which, honestly I found a bit cheesy – almost like the school’s annual day variety. But that is just my idea of the cinematic part.