'The Kerala Sory' poster, Anurag Kashyap
Mumbai: "Be it a propaganda or counter propaganda", banning a film is "wrong", said filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Tuesday in an apparent reference to the West Bengal government's decision to ban controversial movie "The Kerala Story".
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday ordered an immediate ban on the screening of "The Kerala Story" to avoid "any incident of hatred and violence". In Tamil Nadu, multiplexes cancelled screenings citing law and order situation and poor audience turnout.
"You agree with the film or not, be it propaganda, counter propaganda, offensive or not, to ban it is just wrong," Kashyap wrote on Twitter.
"The Kerala Story", directed by Sudipto Sen, depicts how women from Kerala were forcefully converted and recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS). The film, which was released on May 5, features Adah Sharma.
Kashyap said the right way to fight the "propaganda" is by going to the theatres in large numbers to watch "Afwaah", which was released on the same day.
The Sudhir Mishra-directed movie talks about the "misuse of social media and how inherent prejudice is weaponised to create hatred and unrest", he added.
"Go make your voice stronger. Go make a point. That's the right way to fight," Kashyap said.
He also shared a quote by the 18th Century French writer Voltaire, “I don't agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The Producers Guild of India (PGI) also issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the ban.
"The Producers Guild of India is distressed by, and would like to record its strong objection to, state-enforced bans on 'The Kerala Story'.
"As emphasised by us on several occasions in the past, film releases are regulated by CBFC and any film that complies with this statutory requirement should face no further hurdles in having the paying public decide on its fate," the trade body said.
On Monday, Shabana Azmi said only the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has the right to decide whether or not a film should be released.
"Those who speak of banning #TheKeralaStory are as wrong as those who wanted to ban Aamir Khan's #LaalSinghChaddha. Once a film has been passed by the Central Board of Film Certification nobody has the right to become an extra constitutional authority,' she tweeted.
The film on conversion has polarised political discourse. It was given tax-free status in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Tuesday. The Madhya Pradesh government was the first to make the movie tax-free.