President, PM to be approached against ‘commercial’ film shoot at Visva Bharati

Activists and residents of the ashram at Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan will seek President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention against shooting of a “commercial film” inside the ashram that, according to them is a disgrace to the establishment.

Controversy erupted over the shooting of a film featuring Union minister Babul Supriyo inside its prayer hall (Upasana Griha), which was built by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Maharishi Debendranath Tagore in the 19th century.

“Now our rules seem to have changed. Earlier no permission for shooting used to be given. If we see there is a commercial film shoot during prayer in progress, then that means it is a disgrace to the honour of the ashram’s culture,” said Subodh Mitra, a resident of the ashram inside the varsity campus.

The prayer hall, made of colored Belgium glasses with marble steps on all the four sides, is celebrated for its architectural as well as cultural heritage.

Mitra said the officiating Vice Chancellor Swapan Dutta “compromised” with the tradition of the prestigious university by allowing shooting of Bengali film “Posto” (Poppy Seeds) directed by filmmaker Shiboprosad Mukherjee inside the prayer hall.

“Such kind of (commercial) activities should stop inside the hall. The Vice Chancellor should either be removed or forced to tender his apology in public,” he said, adding he will write to the President and Prime Minister for their intervention.

However, Dutta stood his ground asserting that the Tagore’s vision of education is being captured through the movie.

“The concept of education at Patha Bhavan and its culture has been captured in the film. The tradition is still important since Tagore’s system encourages one to become a good human being. There is no commercial aspect. It is like an art film and should be supported. Instead, one should protest against the slaughter of chickens and speedy bikes in the vicinity of the ashram,” Dutta said, adding the varsity is not charging any fee for the shooting.


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