The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Mamata Banerjee government to ensure that no obstruction or restraint of any kind is imposed on the screening of the political satire movie 'Bhobishyoter Bhoot' in theatres in West Bengal. A bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta issued notice to the West Bengal government and others seeking their response before March 25 on a plea by the film producer which alleged that the movie has been taken down from a majority of theatres at the behest of the state authorities.
"We specifically direct the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary, Department of Home, Government of West Bengal to ensure that no obstruction or restraint of any kind whatsoever is imposed on the viewing of the film or on the film being screened in theatres," the bench said. The top court also directed the chief secretary, principal secretary, Department of Home and the Director General of Police of West Bengal to ensure that adequate arrangements for security are made to facilitate the screening of the film.
It also asked them to ensure that the viewers and the audience are not endangered and "there is no danger to the property of the theatres where the film is being or will be screened".The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Indibily Creative Private Limited and others seeking a direction to the West Bengal government and its departments including the Department of Home and the Police Commissioner to refrain from causing any obstruction to the unhindered exhibition of the film. The film has been certified for public viewing by the Central Board of Film Certification on November 19, 2018 and has a U/A certification.
A communication was received by one of the producers of the movie from the Special Branch of West Bengal Police that the contents of the film may hurt public sentiments which may lead to political law and order issues. The petition said that that the film has been taken down from a majority of theatres, and out of 48 exhibitors, only two are presently displaying the film. The film, directed by Anik Dutta, was released on February 15.
The film was allegedly withdrawn from single-screen theatres and multiplexes a day after its release on February 16. The story of the film revolves around a group of ghosts, including a politician, who assemble at a refugee camp and try to be relevant in contemporary times. The film has Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Moon Moon Sen, Kaushik Sen and, veterans Barun Chanda and Paran Bandyopadhyay in leading roles.