Satyajit Ray’s ‘Sikkim’ not screened at Kolkata film fest

November 17th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 17 (IANS) The screening of veteran filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s controversial documentary “Sikkim” at the 14th Kolkata Film Festival has been cancelled because the authorities were not sure whether the ban on the film was lifted or not.”Ray’s ‘Sikkim’ was supposed to be screened Monday, the final day of the film fest. But due to some complications we have decided not to screen the film,” Nilanjan Chatterjee, Chief Executive Officer of Nandan, told IANS.

“We are still unsure if the ban on the film has been lifted or not. Hence we had referred the case to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Delhi, but have yet not received a ‘no-objection’ certificate from them. Hence we have decided to suspend the screening of ‘Sikkim’ at the 11th hour,” he said.

A ban was put on the film by the Congress-led Indian government as well as the Sikkim royalty in 1971.

The American Centre in Kolkata obtained the censor certificate from the Art and Culture Trust of Sikkim for a “one-time preview screening” at the Kolkata Film Festival this year.

But, according to sources, the Nandan authorities are not convinced by the legal papers and documents provided to them by the the American Centre and hence asked the Ministry for its approval.

However, cinema-lovers at Kolkata are quite disappointed with the decision.

“It is a sheer disappointment! ‘Sikkim’ was supposed to be the main attraction of the filmfest this year… and till Sunday evening the authorities told that there are possibilities of the screening. Now just a few hours before the scheduled showtime, they are saying the film won’t be screened!,” said Harsha Mitra, a 61-year-old filmbuff.

The 60-minute film was commissioned and produced by the then Chogyal (title of Sikkim rulers) in 1971. It was banned in India when Sikkim acceded to India in 1975 as it highlighted monarchy.

The copyright of the film was later transferred to the Art and Culture Trust of Sikkim.

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