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Bengal: Utpal Dutt's Play ‘Barricade’ Disallowed in Nabadwip; Theatre Circles Protest

All shows of the ‘anti-fascist’ play, to be held in January, were cancelled after permission was denied by the municipality on the plea that a book fair would be going on at that time.
All shows of the ‘anti-fascist’ play, to be held in January, were cancelled after permission was denied by the municipality on the plea that a book fair would be going on at that time,

Image Courtesy: Twitter/@FilmHistoryPic

Kolkata: All shows of the famous play 'Barricade,' written by theatre doyen late Utpal Dutt and directed by Debesh Chattopadhyay, scheduled to be staged on January 23 at Rabindra Sanskritik Manch in Nabadwip, were cancelled after permission was denied by the Kolkata Municipality, according to the theatre group, Chakdah Natyajan.

The Nabadwip Sayak Cultural Organisation play, which was to stage the play, told People’s Reporter that they were orally informed by the Nabadwip Municipality that the performance cannot be allowed, citing the book fair to be held at that time.

However, the theatre group claimed that the municipality had “issues” with the play's content. Theatre personality Debesh Chattopadhyay said, “I don't understand why my plays are being selectively targeted. ‘Barricade’ is an anti-fascist play. What is the anger of the government here?”

Some others indicated that the reason for the play’s cancellation could be an incident on November 2, wherein government employees staged a protest at Shaheed Minar against corruption in the education department. At the protest site, a play called 'Jagakhichuri' by Chakdah Natyajan was to be staged. Within a few hours, the Kalyani Municipality sent an email cancelling all bookings for the theatre group at Hritwik Sadan.

Suman Pal, secretary of Chakda Natyajan, expressed his anger in a social media post, where he wrote: “The attacks are coming again and again. We are very embarrassed and confused. Somehow, evil forces are watching over this theatre of ours.”

However, when asked, Biman Krishna Saha, chairman of the municipal council in Nabadwip, said he did not know anything about this.

Theatre director Sourav Palodhi said, “The Trinamool (TMC) government did not allow Chakdah Natyajan’s ‘Barricade’ in Nabadwip. The chairman (of the municipality) has reportedly said that Utpal Dutt's play cannot be staged.”

Another theatre director Jayaraj Bhattacharya alleged: "The state ruling party (TMC) is repeatedly trying to stop Chakdah Natayjan's ‘Barricade’. We call upon the theatre group to protest against this abuse. Enough is enough.”

Well-known writer Sayon Bhattacharya said in his social media post, “Those who are very vocal on Facebook, intellectuals who are worried about this toxic state of West Bengal—all of you come to this gathering. Today, the play is cancelled, tomorrow a film will be banned, and then the guillotine will come down in classrooms. Now is the time to stand up and speak freely."

Noted actor Loknath Dey said, “The history of stopping Left-minded theatre during the Congress period is well known.… During Trinamool rule, the culture of banning plays has started again. We protest against the cancellation of 'Barricade' in Nabadwip and condemn this move.”

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