The Central Board of Film Certification has asked the director of a Bengali film to mute the word ‘Musalman’ that comes at four scenes in the film. Director Ranjan Chowdhury's film, Chirodiner Ek Onnyo Premer Galpo, stars Samadarshi Dutta, Shreela Mazumdar, Biswajit Chakraborty, Subhasish Mukherjee and Bangladeshi actor Shampa Hasnine. The movie is based on the relationship between two individuals belonging from Hindu and Muslim community. According to a Times of India report, after the CBFC examined the film, Chowdhury was given a list which mentioned nine modifications.
The fifth modification in that list stated that the word ‘Musalman’ had to be muted “wherever it occurs”. The list even notes the exact time where the word was used. The usage of the word apparently violates Guideline 2 (XII), which states that “visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups” should not be presented.
The CBFC has apparently also asked him to delete an entire item song ‘Ami rai seje boshe achhi’ and cited violation of Guideline 2 (VII), which refers to human sensibilities being offended by "vulgarity, obscenity or depravity".
Chowdhury who is in a state of shock now insists he is not either endorsing or undermining any religion. "My film mirrors a social reality where we have people talking like this. I have to show the conflict and construct a narrative keeping these viewpoints to show Hindu-Muslim amity at the end. Muting the word means asking me not to mirror a social reality of our times. I am appalled by CBFC's decision. This is completely unacceptable," Chowdhury told the leading daily.
"What has come as a bigger surprise is that the CBFC does not even want me to retain the local flavour in the dialogues. People in rural Bengal use the words 'goja guji' pretty regularly. I have been asked to mute any reference to this phrase or its variations," he added.
However, usage of the Bengali word ‘Musalman’ is not new to Bengali cinema. Eminent filmmaker Suman Ghosh's 2006-film Podokhhep starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Nandita Das also had it in the movie. Kaushik Ganguly's National Award-winning 2017-film, Bisorjon which deals with an inter-faith love story too used the same word at least four times."I was not asked to mute it. Every word used in a film is a free word. If a religion is not demeaned, I do not see why a word has to be muted. It should not be censored as long as the director is not endorsing a view against a religion," Ganguly was quoted in the report.