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Driven batty by a bird

By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Director Gautam Ghosh and producer Bipin Vohra are relieved men today, as they have managed to get a clearance certificate for their film Yatra, after knocking on the doors of the Animal Welfare Board of India in Chennai for four months.

Says Ghosh from Kolkata, "The Animal Welfare Board, wanted us to delete a scene which shows a parrot in a cage.

It was only when we agreed to delete that scene did they give us a clearance certificate." Yatra stars Nana Patekar, Rekha and Deepti Naval.

Unnecessary target

Elaborating on the scene, Ghosh says, "Art director Samir Chanda had constructed a beautiful set of a courtyard in a village home with a bird in a cage.

Birds in cages are a common sight in villages, but the Animal Welfare Board has come up with a new regulation saying you can't show birds in cages.

They wanted us to cut those scenes, so now I am having it digitally removed.

If we hadn't agreed, the producers would have lost money. Having them digitally removed is the cheapest way to save those scenes."

Ghosh recounts another incident when he faced harassment by the Censor Board during Antarjalir Yatra. "We shot the film in May 1987.

While I was editing it, the Roop Kanwar incident happened where a Rajasthani bride was forced to commit sati by her village.

I had a sati scene in the film and it ran into trouble with the censors. Thankfully, some of the intelligentsia like MJ Akbar, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha, got together and raised a hue and cry that Antarjalir Yatra had to be released."

Our loss

Ghosh feels the Animal Welfare and Censor Boards unnecessarily target filmmakers.

"Why doesn't television have a censor board? There should be a national debate on this issue as TV viewership is much higher than cinema. Policy makers shouldn't do things on an ad hoc basis," he fumes.

Executive director, Agnidev Chatterjee, adds, "Our loss is that because the film was held up for four months, it has becomes stale and this has an adverse affect on the minds of viewers. Now we will have to rebuild the entire publicity campaign."

Yatra is the story of novelist Dasarath Joglekar (Nana Patekar) and his journey through life. Rekha is one of the characters from the writer's earlier novel Lajwanti, a singer-dancer from Benaras.

She's a mysterious character whom the writer becomes obsessed with. Deepti Naval plays Dashrath's wife.

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