Kolkata: Even as a controversy continues to rage over the Modi biopic, a movie “inspired” by the life of Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is planned for release early next month, in the midst of Lok Sabha elections.
The Bengali film, titled “Baghini – Bengal Tigress”, has the story of an ordinary girl’s rise to the position of a Chief Minister after overcoming the struggles against the political forces opposing her along her life’s journey.
This is a striking similarity with Banerjee’s life, who struggled hard against the Left Front rule in West Bengal and wrested power in 2011 by dislodging the Communist government after 30 years.
Its makers said the film, originally planned to be released ahead of the 2016 state assembly polls, will now hit the screens on May 3, three days ahead of the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal.
With the CPI(M) and the BJP opposing its release, the makers of the movie insist that it is not a biopic as name of the protagonist, played by threatre actor Ruma Chakraborty, is Indira Banerjee.
They describe it as a story of women’s empowerment, deeply inspired by Banerjee.
“A controversy is going on over a piece of fake news that the film is a Banerjee biopic. If it really were a biopic, we could have named it as ‘CM Mamata Banerjee’ in line with the Modi biopic. That would have been more advantageous for us. But this is a story of women empowerment. You can say it is deeply inspired by our CM,” director Nehal Dutta told IANS.
Producer Pinky Pal, who is also the film’s scriptwriter, said the timing of the release is “purely coincidental” as they received the censor board clearance just a few days back.
“Though the shooting was completed in 2016, certain parts of post production, especially graphics had to be reworked. So we completed it. I also suffered a personal loss during that time so the release had to be deferred. But after we got the clearance from the censor board with a ‘Universal’ certification, we decided to release it,” Pal said.
Pal said the mid-budget film is set to hit the screens and multiplexes across Bengal on the scheduled day as they have yet no received any intimation from the EC regarding delaying the release.
With teasers of the movie already out, CPI-M has raised the red banner against the movie, saying it is a “Mamata Banerjee biopic”.
The Left party has submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission, seeking a stay on its release till the elections get over.
The BJP also has moved the poll panel seeking a “review of the film on the similar lines that was done by the Election Commission in case of a biopic depicting Narendra Modi”.
The release of the Modi biopic has been put on hold after there were protests against it.
Some petitioners approached the Supreme Court which asked the Election Commission to watch the movie and take a call on its release.
Dutta, while describing himself and Pinky Pal as “die hard fans” of the Trinamool Congress supremo, said, “As the story is based in Bengal, it is natural that we have drawn inspiration from Banerjee. She is an iconic figure, not just in Bengal but across the country. Had we made the film in Uttar Pradesh or Tamil Nadu, may be Mayawati or Jayalalitha would have been our inspiration.”
Dutta said though the film’s narrative refers to some iconic moments of Banerjee’s political career like the Singur and Nandigram land agitationd, it does not contain anything that can hurt the sentiments of a party or an individual.
By MILINDA GHOSH ROY
(Milinda Ghosh Roy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)