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29 Mar 2023, 21:51 HRS IST
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  • Bengali film industry observes 'blackout' on 'Padmavati' issue

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18:23 HRS IST

Kolkata, Nov 28 (PTI) The Bengali film industry observed a 15-minute "blackout" today, in solidarity with the makers of Bollywood film "Padmavati" and to protest against the alleged attempts by certain groups to stall its release.

Shootings, pre and post-production work of films and television serials came to a halt across the city during the symbolic protest.

A spokesman of the Eastern India Motion Picture Directors' Association (EIMPA) said all the actors, technicians, directors and production unit members came out of the studios, where pre and post-production work of films and serials were taking place, at 12 noon to register their protest.

Actor Indrani Halder, who was shooting for a television serial at the Technicians' Studio, said, "We stopped work at 12 noon and every person of our unit came out to the open compound. Shooting at all the other floors also came to a halt. This marks our solidarity with an acclaimed director like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and our protest against any attempt to curb creative freedom."

The actors, directors and technicians in different studios, including NT 1 and Bharatlakshmi, also wore black badges during the "blackout" period.

The EIMPA, the Artist Forum and the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers had jointly called for the protest.

Announcing the "blackout", noted filmmaker Goutam Ghosh had yesterday said, protests against Bhansali's film "Padmavati" were "extremely unfortunate".

"Let there be a debate after the film is released to judge what is real history and what is fiction," he had said.

Bengali film superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee had said, with the call for the "blackout", the Bengali film industry conveyed the message that as a part of the country's larger film industry, it stood for creative freedom.

"Will the directors be required to get their scripts endorsed by certain individuals from now on by WhatsApping, even before sending the film to the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) for a preview?" he had wondered.

On Sunday, the Indian Films and TV Directors' Association (IFTDA), along with 19 other bodies of the film and television industry from across the country, had stopped shooting for 15 minutes and participated in a similar protest called "Main Azaad Hoon?" (Am I free?) at the Film City in Mumbai.

Many Rajput groups have been up in arms against "Padmavati", alleging that it distorts history by featuring a romantic dream sequence between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji, a claim repeatedly denied by Bhansali.

The makers of the film, which features Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in the lead roles, have deferred its release from December 1 till further notice.

BJP-ruled states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have expressed reservations about releasing the film, while Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said his government will not allow "Padmavati" to be screened in the state as it hurts the sentiments of the Rajput community.

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