Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Ghosts Who Walk The Gag

A satirical film that dares to hint at Bengal’s political reality is taken off theatres at the behest of ‘authorities’

Ghosts Who Walk The Gag
Ghosts Who Walk The Gag Photograph by PTI

In Bhooter Bhobishyat (2012), Anik Dutta’s debut film, a bunch of ghosts as diverse as a 19th century courtesan and a Kargil War veteran get up to all kinds of mischief to keep property/land sharks and politicians from laying their hands on their last refuge—an old, dilapidated house. It delighted audiences, especially the wordplay and puns, often in witty, rhy­ming doggerel that made up much of the screenplay, its droll darts hitting socio-political targets with ease, raising rolls of mirth. In February 2019, Dutta returned to the existential woes of a different group of spectral beings (hounded out of their last few habitats by multistoreyed buildings and malls, they now resolve to seek refuge in the digital world) in Bhobishyater Bhoot, an inversion of the title of his first movie.

Innocuously funny as the premise is, in this movie Dutta’s  satire gets a sharper focus, and deals barbs generously across the political spectrum. Its sharpest bites, however, are reserved for the ‘Chhinnomool Party’. Quite predictably, this brilliantly comic takedown of the sinister bungling of a strongman-ruled outfit drew blood. A day after its release, Bhobish­yater Bhoot was pulled out of theatres on February 16. As murmurs of a Trinamool Congress-imposed quietus gained ground, single-screen owners said a “technical issue” forced their hand, while multiplexes said it was an order from “authorities”.  

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