Even as the controversy over a Bollywood biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to rage in the midst of parliamentary polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have moved India’s Election Commission seeking a halt to the release of a Bangla feature film the two parties allege is inspired by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The Bangla film, titled “Baghini — Bengal Tigress”, tells the story a girl’s rise to the position of a Chief Minister after overcoming political foes in a manner that is reportedly strikingly similar to Mamata’s life.
Mamata formed her party Trinamool Congress in 1998 and then single-handedly defeated West Bengal’s Left Front in the 2011 assembly polls in West Bengal in a historic mandate that ended 34 years of unbroken Leftist rule in the state. The film’s makers said they originally planned to release the movie ahead of the 2016 state assembly polls in West Bengal but now have scheduled it for May 3, three days ahead of the fourth phase of parliamentary elections in West Bengal. The makers of the movie insist it is not a biopic as name of the protagonist, played by theatre actor Ruma Chakraborty, is Indira Banerjee.
With the teaser of the movie already in public domain, the CPIM alleged it was a “Mamata Banerjee biopic” and submitted a memorandum to the EC, seeking a stay on its release till the elections finish.
The BJP has also written to the EC on the film. “We have submitted a letter to the EC and the Chief Electoral Officer (Ariz Aftab) in West Bengal requesting them to review the film Baghini before it is released on May 3 on similar lines that was done by the EC in the case of another biopic depicting Narendra Modi,” said BJP Bengal state committee member Shishir Bajoria, one of the signatories of the letter.
The Indian EC has already stayed the release of the biopic on Modi till parliamentary polls are over. However, following an appeal by the makers of the biopic against the EC’s decision, the Indian Supreme Court has asked the poll body to watch the movie and take a fresh view on the issue.