Bangalore is never likely to see Court, Chaitanya Tamhane’s National award winning film about the paralyzing paradoxes of our legal system.
On May 1 when Court was supposed to open in Bangalore, the film was forcibly stopped from screening, apparently because of legal issues.
Dismayed director Chaitanya Tamhane protested, “The non-release in Bangalore has nothing to do with my film’s content. What I’m told is that Marathi films are not released in Bangalore.”
Chaitanya however is not sure if his film could be said to be in Marathi alone. “My film is multi-lingual. Marathi is one of the languages spoken by the characters along with Hindi, English and Gujarati. But the censor certificate says the language of my film is Marathi. And there is a problem releasing Marathi films in Bangalore.”
Apparently, some local associations in Bangalore attack exhibitors who screen films in certain regional languages.
Says Chaitanya, “No exhibitor wanted to take a risk. I think these days’ exhibitors are exercising self-censorship. Even with the Censor Board’s approval they don’t want to release films that may cause a problem on release.”
Coincidentally, Kamal Haasan’s new Tamil release Uttama Villain was also stopped from screening in Chennai on Friday.
Condemning all such witch-hunting Chaitanya says, “There is something known as artistic freedom, and everybody should respect that. I don’t think any kind of politics should come into play in any work of art, especially when it’s all set to open before the public. Personally I am very unhappy about people in Bangalore not being able to see my film.”
Until the last minute on Friday Chaitanya and his producers were hoping to sort out the issue in Bangalore. “We kept hoping we’d manage to release the film. Now, I don’t think Court will be released in Bangalore. That’s a pity because after the National award the response to our film everywhere has been very very good, beyond our expectations. The response has been very encouraging. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Chaitanya is in Delhi on Sunday to receive the National award for Court.
Expressing great joy he says, “The National award for Best Film is a game-changing event for our film. It really got us a much bigger audience than we’d have got otherwise.”
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