Bengal celluloid legends axed from film festival committee

Kolkata, July 16 (IANS) Four eminent film personalities, including world renowned director Mrinal Sen and thespian Soumitra Chatterjee, have been dropped from the general body of the 2013 Kolkata International Film Festival committee.

Sources said that apart from Dadasaheb Phalke winners Sen and Chatterjee, filmmakers Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Tarun Majumdar have also failed to find a place in the reconstituted committee.

All the four, known for their leftist views, said they were not the least "perturbed or bothered" over being dropped from the committee. Sen, Chatterjee and Majumdar said they had quit from the panel two years back.

"I did not know that I was a member of the committee till date. I was not informed when I was included. Similarly they kept me in the dark when I was dropped," said Chatterjee.

Education minister and theatre personality Bratya Basu, producer Srikant Mohta and legislator Arup Biswas were among those now named on the panel.

However, there was no official communication from the state government on the decision.

"The committee was non-functional. It only existed on paper. I never attended any meeting, nor was I ever invited. It holds no significance for me whether or not I am in such a committee," said Chatterjee, one of the most celebrated actors in Bengal for over half a century.

Sen, 91, said he had quit at the first meeting of the committee itself as it was not possible for him to work with people with whom he "can never agree".

Majumdar also said he had intimated the state Information and Cultural affairs ministry that he wished to stay away from the panel.

Dasgupta called it an "insignificant matter". "This does not bother me. This is very insignificant and actually a laughing matter," he added.

Sen, Chatterjee and Majumdar have been vocal in their criticisms of state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and recently played leading role in convening a mammoth rally of the civil society that saw poets, painters, authors, film and theatre personalities, singers, and social activists walk alongside thousands of common people decrying the incidents of sexual violence and the "insensitive" reactions of the Banerjee regime.

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