'Teen Kanya' not screened at Star theatre

Kolkata, Nov 4 (IANS) Despite initial claims by director Agnideb Chattopadhyay, his "anti-government" Bengali movie "Teen Kanya" was not screened at the state-run Star theatre here Sunday. The suspense-thriller was released Friday across Bengal and shown in private cinema halls.

The film is said to bear a resemblance to the real-life Park Street rape case in February, in which an Anglo-Indian woman was raped in a moving car.

"We were initially informed that the movie would be screened at the theatre Sunday evening onwards but later I was told they will not run the film," Chattopadhyay said.

The theatre is run by Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which is now controlled by West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress. The movie was pulled out of the Star theatre Saturday after being branded "anti-government".

The director earlier in the day had claimed that he was informed about the decision by Hemendra Dave, a film distributor who supervises screening of movies at the Star theatre.

Dave, however, rejected the director's claim by saying the movie would not be screened as the Star theatre was booked for other programmes.

"No, the film will not be screened here. I don't know why he (Chattopadhyay) made such a claim. There has been no talk on screening of 'Teen Kanya' at the Star (theatre)," Dave said.

"The movie is not being screened because of its duration (2 hours and 32 minutes) and other bookings and not because it is anti-government," said Dave, a day after calling it anti-government.

The theatre has been booked for the eight-day Kolkata International Film Festival starting Nov 10.

The pulling out of the movie has drawn severe criticism from all quarters including from the cast and crew of the movie.

The director said he was willing to chop-off scenes which the government found 'objectionable' in spite of the fact that the censor board did not suggest any cuts or deletion.

"I was earlier told that the government had objection to a specific word used in the film. Now they are raising issues about its duration, and that the auditorium is booked for other events. I don't know what is happening," said a crestfallen Chattopadhyay.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had received severe criticism from all quarters after she initially dubbed the rape victim's allegation as "fabricated".