Censor Board Imposes Changes To Certify Film On Amartya Sen

As the censor board asked the director to mute Sen’s words taking the Hindutva sensitivities of the government into consideration and the director refusing to comply, the release of the film has been stalled.

Kolkata: The release of the documentary film on the Noble laureate Amartya Sen hit a road block with its director Suman Ghosh refusing to fall in line with the recommendations of the Central Board of Film Certification to mute some of the words the welfare economist used in the movie.

An award-winning filmmaker and economics professor in the US, Suman Ghosh has directed a documentary film titled ‘Argumentative Indian’ on the renowned economist Amartya Sen whose writings were also compiled with the same title.

The censor board asked the director to beep the audio when Amartya Sen uttered the words ‘cow’, ‘Hindutva view of India’, ‘Hindu India’ and ‘Gujarat’ in the footage.

Director Suman Ghosh told that the censor board members watched his one-hour movie for over three hours in Kolkata on Tuesday. He was then told that the film would be given UA certificate if he agreed to mute the words the board members suggested. UA certificate necessitates parental guidance.

In an interview to NDTV, Amartya Sen said he was astonished by the decision of the censor board. “It shows the country is in the hands of an authoritarian regime pursuing its own view of what is good for the country,” he remarked. He said it was not about the cow or his reference to Gujarat but what they objected to was his particular statements about what happened in 2002 in Gujarat, the Noble Prize winner opined.

Director Suman Ghosh said he was shocked at what the censor board recommended. He said he would not compromise with the board and take legal recourse. Alternatively, the director is also planning to release the film online which does not require censor board’s approval. Instead of going through a lengthy and cumbersome legal process, the director may opt for online release.

The decision of the censor board drew severe criticism from film and political quarters. Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner Saumitra Chatterjee told a Bengali television channel that the decision of the board was nothing less than sheer stupidity.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted “Every single voice of the opposition is being muzzled. Now, even somebody of Dr Amartya Sen’s stature cannot express himself freely. If that’s the case, what hope does the common citizen have?”

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