APW demands case against filmmaker
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Jan 25: The theatres in Assam are now the apple of discord among all those who have all along been working to champion the cause of Assam and everything attached to it. With the issue being landed in the ULFA ‘court’ now it seems to be the real litmus test for everyone involved.
Assamese filmmaker Himangshu Prasad Das had his film Shakira Ahibo Bakultolor Bihu Loi released in the cinema halls in the State on Friday last. However, the film was taken out of cinemas across the state today by the distributors to make way for the two mega releases – Shah Rukh Khan starrer Raees and Hrithik Roshan’s Kabil. There were demonstrators in front of cinema halls and other public places in the State today in protest against the glaring ‘prefer Hindi film to Assamese film’ attitude of film distributors.
Filmmamaker Das made no delay in seeking ULFA ‘c-in-c’ Paresh Baruah’s intervention to get justice. So much so that within hours the rebel leader called cinema hall owners and asked them to rollback their move.
The issue really stirred up the hornets’ next and almost all organizations in the State had to make their statements public. While most of the organizations seems to sing the chorus of preferring Assamese films to their Hindi counterparts, APW president Abhijit Sharma, talking to The Sentinel, questioned: “Riding on the issue of an Assamese film, how come filmmaker Himangshu Prasad Das seeks help from a banned organization? The police should register a suo motu case against the filmmaker. If the police refrain from registering a case against the filmmaker, it can’t take action against any civilians who give shelter to ULFA rebels. Many cinema halls in the State had to be closed only because of Paresh Baruah. He had all along been hiding in Bangladesh, and worked as an agent of Bangladesh, Pakistan and the ISI. And now he is working as a Chinese agent. It’s Chi that bars him from coming to talk. If the ULFA resorts to any subversive activities in the State now, the filmmaker should be held responsible for that. The filmmaker should’ve a sound business sense. Sans of business sense, he’s playing with the Assamese sentiment. It isn’t worth supporting. The theatres have been booked six months back. The release of films were set six months back. It should’ve been known to Das that it’s not the right time to release his film. There’s no schedule of release of any Bollywood films till February 10. Akshay Kumar starrer film Jolly LLB 2 will be released on February 10.”
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said: “Injustice is meted out to Assamese cinemas. If not in Assam, where will Assamese films be screened?”
In the city today, the filmmaker and members of the Film Fraternity of Assam demonstrated near Nehru Park. “This is an anti-Assam conspiracy. We oppose it vehemently. We’ve gird up our loins to put an end to this injustice.” In a statement released in Guwahati today, AJYCP president Biraj Kumar Talukdar said that the hall owners must screen the Assamese films to promote the industry apart from screening the Hindi films to survive. “The situation seems to have gone from bad to worse. The bid to uplift the Assamese films amid a gradual decline in the number of viewers is indeed a challenging task,” said Talukdar. He observed that the cinema hall owners have been fighting against the odds by screening the Assamese films despite lack of response.
The organization demands screening of Assamese films at least once in a day. “The new arrivals should be screened for a minimum period of three weeks. We think it would be the best possible way to promote the Assamese cinemas apart from allowing the hall owners to take fincial benefits by screening Hindi or other movies.” Guwahati Police Commissioner Hiren th said: “So far no one has filed any FIR against the filmmaker seeking help from the ULFA leader. We’re watching the situation.”