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Bangladesh: Government bans film, no reason given

15 March 2017
The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation banned film ‘Doob: No Bed of Roses’ on 16 February 2017, just a day after it had approved the film.
Photo: Section of ‘Doob: No Bed of Roses’ poster/Irrfan Khan Twitter

 

The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) banned film ‘Doob: No Bed of Roses’ on 16 February 2017, just a day after it had approved the film with a “no objection certificate”, reported Variety on 17 February 2017.

In their letter to the film’s production company, the BFDC said it cancelled the certificate because of a letter from the Bangladesh Ministry of Information. The BFDC’s Joint Venture Preview Committee had approved the film’s script on 8 March 2016.

The film’s director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki said the decision “goes against the freedom of expression”.

We have been blocked at the first gate. As the order does not explain any reason, I don’t know why they thought screening of the film would be inappropriate. Yes, my film handles a so-called taboo subject, but it doesn’t show anything explicit and hence doesn’t violate any censor code.



Speculation over film being biopic
There has been speculation that the movie is loosely based on the life of late famed Bangladeshi writer and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed who divorced his wife after 27 years of marriage and married an actress 33 years younger than him.

The film is about a filmmaker, played by Irrfan Khan, who divorces his wife and marries an actress who was his daughter’s classmate in school.

The film’s lead actor and co-producer Irrfan Khan said: “I am really surprised to know that the government of Bangladesh has blocked the film. This is a humane story that deal with complex male and female relationships in a subtle and balanced way. What harm will it cause to the society if seen?”

Farooki maintains that the film is not a biopic and plans to take the issue to court.


Late wife speaks out
Ahmed’s widow Meher Afroz Shaon held a press conference at her house on 19 Febraury 2017 in which she said the film depicts her late husband in an “objectionable” way, reported Bangladeshi news outlet bdnews24 on 20 February 2017.

In the conference Shaon said that Bangladeshi and Indian media outlets reported that Khan had studied videos of her husband “as part of homework before the shooting started”. She added that actress Parno Mittra, in a Facebook post, said her chacrater’s name was Meher Afroz Shaon and later edited the post removing the name.

When asked if she would file suit against the film’s team, she said she couldn’t based on media reports, but that she had “left the matter to the hands of the qualified members of the censor board”.

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