19 June, 2021

Tollywood's Political Kahani: Scripted, Produced And Directed by Trinamool Congress!

Actors as election candidates...Bengal’s entertainment industry has never been so political until the Trinamool and BJP emerged as dominant forces in the state

Counting Stars
Nusrat Jahan
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Tollywood's Political Kahani: Scripted, Produced And Directed by Trinamool Congress!
outlookindia.com
2019-05-07T14:25:53+05:30

“It’s hands over Tollywood”, declares filmmaker Saibal Mitra, alluding to the political meddling in the film and television industry of Calcutta. Referencing Fran-cesco Rosi’s film Hands Over The City (1963), he explains that the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has a stranglehold on the entertainment world. Most producers and distributors have aligned with the party, as have artistes and technicians. Those who have different leanings are either forced to toe the line or marginalised.

Given cinema’s influence on the masses, political parties have always courted the industry. In the early 1980s, when the Left was in power, artistes and technicians unionised under guilds. During elections, prominent film personalities joined campaigns in support of the party’s candidates. A few actors like Anup Kumar, Anil Chatterjee and Biplab Chatterjee even contested elec-tions. “But the regimentation that is now in place was not seen in those days,’’ observes Saibal. Aniket Chatterjee, a filmmaker, claims that nowadays, the...

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