Banned Satyajit Ray Sikkim film screened in Kolkata lands in copyright row

November 12th, 2010 - 6:37 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 12 (ANI): After nearly four decades, Satyajit Ray’s banned documentary ‘Sikkim’ was finally screened at the Kolkata Film Festival (KFF), only to be tangled in a copyright controversy.

A Sikkim-based trust has claimed to own exclusive rights over the film, reports the BBC.
The Art and Culture Trust of Sikkim (Acts) - an organisation promoted by former Sikkim King Palden Thondup Namgyal - challenged the screening in the courts after the KFF organisers did not heed to its appeal.

“They were not prepared to listen and told us they screened the film at the festival on Thursday,” said Acts managing trustee Ugyen Chhopel.

“So we filed a case of copyright infringement in the Sikkim High Court,” he added.

The court has now issued an interim stay order on the film until the copyright infringement case is dealt with, which means that the film still cannot be screened in public.

KFF chief Nilanjan Chatterjee said that the decision to go ahead with the screening was taken because they had not received any orders from the court and had not received any documents proving the copyright.

Acts, which is entrusted with the task of preserving ethnic Sikkimese art and culture, says that it not only has the exclusive copyright of the documentary, but also the censor board certificate and written permission to screen it from the erstwhile king.

Chhopel said they had planned to organise a gala premiere of the film in Gangtok in March next year.

The film was banned in 1975 when the Himalayan state became a part of India.

Though commissioned by King Namgyal in the early 1970s, the royal family was not happy with the film. They objected to a couple of scenes, including the one that showed poor people scrambling for leftover food behind the royal palace. (ANI)

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