The Supreme Court has, in an interim order, directed the government of West Bengal to allow the screening of Anik Dutta’s satirical spoof Bhobishyoter Bhoot.
A division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice Hemant Gupta ordered the state’s chief secretary and principal secretary (home) to lift any kind of restraints on the public screening of the film in theatres.
West Bengal’s director-general of police was also ordered to ensure public safety during the screenings.
The government will have to make necessary arrangements so that audiences do not face any obstacles and theatres where the film is screened are not threatened.
Bhobishyoter Bhoot was withdrawn from 44 theatres across the state within a day of its release on 16 February without any official order.
The satirical film critiques the current governments both in the state and at the Centre with wit and humour was passed with a U/A certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification.
The producers of the film then filed a petition against the state government, stating that it was “obstructing the film from being exhibited in cinema halls of Kolkata in a highly backhanded and arbitrary manner”.
Intellectuals, artists and members of the film fraternity have been staging protests and also conducted a march with the demand to allow freedom of speech and lift the unlawful and unofficial ban on the film.
After the Supreme Court’s interim order, director Dutta told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper, “The viewers are the best judges of my film. They should get the opportunity to watch it and judge it. I am very happy with the apex court’s order.”
“I am extremely happy that there are no obstacles now and the movie will be screened again,” said Karunamoy Chatterjee, one of the producers of the film, “I expect that the movie to be released soon in multiplexes and movie theatres across Bengal.”