Theatre group accuses TMC-run civic body of taking back permission to stage play against state dictatorship

Theatre group accuses TMC-run civic body of taking back permission to stage play against state dictatorship

Kolkata, Nov 16 (PTI) Days after a TMC-run municipality in Nadia district cancelled the permission of a theatre group to stage an anti-establishment play in a state-run auditorium, another civic body in the district has taken back the permission of the same group to stage a drama against fascism and dictatorship.

Suman Paul, the director of 'Chakdah Natyajon' theatre group claimed in a Facebook post on Wednesday that they were told by the organisers of a theatre festival in Nadia district about Nabadwip Municipality having asked them to scrap hall booking for 'Barricade' in their forthcoming theatre festival and opt for any other play instead.

Barricade was penned by Late Utpal Dutt 50 years back against fascism and dictatorship.

'It is clear we are being targeted by some powers repeatedly. Only days back our play 'Jogakhichuri' (hotchpotch) had been disallowed by the Kalyani Municipality in the one-week drama festival. We are stunned. While all procedures had been followed before booking the auditorium in both Kalyani and Nabadwip, the recent developments raise fear of a bigger design to stop anything whose content and message may not be palatable,' Paul told reporters.

Permission to stage 'Jagakhichuri' in Kalyani at a theatre festival from November 23 had been withdrawn on November 2 citing the date clashing with some other state programme. Similarly the Nabadwip Municipality in a letter to the local organizer 'Sayak theatre group' informed that the play 'Barricade' cannot be staged at the local auditorium on January 23.

Eminent playwright Debesh Chattopadhyay, who had directed the play Barricade, alleged that the cancellation has been effected by the TMC-ruled civic body as they are afraid of stage plays helmed by the 'red' (the left).

'The cancellation of permission to stage Barricade stems from the mindset of concerned civic bodies not to allow plays with certain subject and professing certain ideology,' he told reporters.

Trashing the allegations, Nabadwip Municipality chairman Biman Krishna Saha said 'the cancellation has nothing to do with the content of the play. I have no idea what they are speaking about or hinting at. If any such show has been cancelled that is not due to any vindictiveness. Some vested interests are creating a false social media buzz and false narrative about the entire thing.' Theatre personality Kaushik Sen said 'By resorting to such acts, the TMC-controlled municipality has exposed its true character. The decision of the said theatre group to stage a play at a sit-in protest venue of state employees forum in Kolkata annoyed the ruling party and they are creating one hurdle after another for Chakdah Natyajon.' TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said the allegations are motivated and made with political intent. PTI SUS RG

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