Most of theatre owners defied the Ulfa(I) chief’s threat and decided to withdraw the Assamese film.
Guwahati: The Assam police on Thursday registered an FIR against Assamese filmmaker who sought the help of elusive Ulfa(I) chief Paresh Baruah to ask film distributors not to take his film off screens to make way for the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees and Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil in January.
Accusing theatre owners of removing his Assamese film Shakira Ahibo Bakultolor Bihuloi despite a “good” crowd, filmmaker Himangshu Prasad Das had written a letter to Ulfa (I) chief Paresh Baruah on his Facebook.
Within hours, Paresh Barua, who police say is operating from Myanmar close to China’s Yunnan province, appeared on a local TV channel and issued a warning to theatre-owners. “An Assamese film should not be taken off just to accommodate Shah Rukh Khan’s Hindi film (Raees). If halls don’t continue screening the Assamese film wherever it is running well, we will be compelled to take action,” the militant leader threatened. However, most of theatre owners defied the Ulfa(I) chief’s threat and decided to withdraw the Assamese film.
In his “open letter” to Barua on Facebook, Das, a 2008 alumnus of National School of Drama (NSD) wrote, “The way you are carrying your dreams of independence, we too are struggling to carry forward our cultural struggle as Assamese…My film that released on January 20 was gradually gaining popularity when a circle having vested interests started working to remove it to accommodate two Hindi films. This is not a crisis of just one Assamese film, but of our (Assamese) pride. If we cannot live with our distinct identity, then what would be the identity of (Assamese) people when Assam one day becomes independent? Waiting eagerly for your reactions.”
Commenting on the FIR, secretary of theatre owners’ body Rajiv Bora said, “We have not sought the help of police. But the statement of Ulfa (I) is out in the open. It is up to the police”. He added that no theatre owner will remove an Assamese film if it is drawing the crowd.
City police also said that they have registered an FIR on its own in Panbazar police station case number 49/17 against the film-maker for writing letter to militant leader. The Assistant Commissioner of Police Suleman Ali has lodged the FIR.