CBFC wants no ‘cow’ in Amartya film, stirs a row

amartya sen

KOLKATA: Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate and author of ‘The Argumentative Indian’, led the chorus of angry voices that questioned the censor board’s intent and interest in demanding the wipeout of words like “cow”, “Gujarat”, “Hindu India” and “Hindutva view of India” from a documentary film revolving around conversations between Sen and Kaushik Basu, chief economic adviser in the UPA-2 regime.

Sen said the Central Board of Film Certification‘s move settled a key question in his mind: whether such bodies appointed by the Centre acted in the interest of the nation or in the interest of the ruling party. “I think this incident offers a fairly clear answer,” he said on Wednesday.

Celebrities like poet Sankha Ghosh, actor Soumitra Chattopadhyay and author Nabaneeta Dev Sen came down heavily on the board for its “attack on freedom of expression”. “Every single voice of the opposition is being muzzled. Now, Dr Amartya Sen. If somebody of his stature cannot express himself freely, what hope does the common citizen have!” CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

Sen remarked the CBFC‘s actions were a reflection of the authoritarian regime that currently ruled the country. “The regime wants to use these bodies (CBFC) that are meant to be bodies of the state rather than the government to act in the interest of the the ruling party. It tells you about the way democracy is being interpreted by ruling party.”

Many view the CBFC’s actions as being part of the Centre’s proxy war against Sen, who has been critical of demonetisation and has often taken on PM Modi for the Gujarat riots. ‘Argumentative Indian’ director Suman Ghosh did not rule out Sen’s presence in the documentary as being one of the reasons for CBFC’s hypersensitivity.

CBFC officials brushed aside the remarks.

“We have not refused certification. The panel has approved the documentary for ‘U’ certification with some amendments.” Ghosh intends to appeal to the revising committee. If still dissatisfied, the filmmaker can approach the Film Certification  Appellate Tribunal.

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