Film on Maoists triggers controversy in Orissa

BJP demands resignation of ruling BJD MP Sidhanta Mahapatra
Last Updated 22 July 2010, 16:58 IST

Mahapatra, a leading actor in the Oriya film industry is playing the role of a Maoist area commander in the multi-crore movie, Swayamsiddha. The popular film artist had won the last Lok Sabha elections from Berhampur seat on a BJD ticket defeating Congress heavyweight and former Union minister Chandrasekhar Sahu.

The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, which has already submitted a memorandum to Governor M C Bhandare has demanded a ban on the film.

“How can an elected people’s representative play a role that justifies Maoism and glorifies Naxalites who have unleashed a reign of terror against the state and its people?” asked the Morcha’s state unit president, Bibhuti Jena.

The BJP youth wing has asked theatres not to screen the movie when it will be released across the state shortly. It also demanded an inquiry into the source of funding of the movie alleging that Maoists could have finance the movie to promote naxalism among the youth of the state.

However, both Mahapatra and the producer of the movie, Prabhat Mallick have rejected the allegations leveled against the movie.

“All these allegations are baseless. The movie has not glorified Maoists or their policies. On the contrary through the film an attempt has been made to bring the Naxalites back to the mainstream,” said Mallick.

Mahapatra also said that the film has not sent any wrong message to the society. “I am a professional actor and have played a role. According to me it is a balanced film,” the popular movie star said.

The BJD has so far maintained a cautious approach on the issue. “The movie has not been released. The matter will be looked into at an appropriate time,” said party spokesperson and agriculture minister Damodar Rout.

Interestingly, another BJD Lok Sabha member, Prasana Kumar Patsani is also reportedly having a special appearance in the movie. Patsani, a four time MP from the prestigious Bhubaneswar constituency, will be making his silver screen debut through the movie.

(Published 22 July 2010, 16:58 IST)

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