The last minute refusal by Globus multiplex Bandra to screen The Gujarat Promise (TGP) which explores whether development is indeed touching the lives of those at the lower rungs of society or are the figures too skewed and inflated in the state has led to the team of film makers alleging that this was done at the behest of the BJP.
“We were having a special screening by invite. We had already hand delivered the invitations and were tying up last minute details of the inaugural screening when the multiplex management dropped this bomb on us,” said one of the young film makers Rohit Chikhalkar who is part of the team.
The team was set upon by political goons and had to flee during shooting on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. “All we are trying to explore is whether the the real picture of the state of Gujarat matches the claims made by the government. Surely any authority confident of their achievements should be happy that an independent inquiry is being made into their claims but we faced so much resistance even while shooting,” author, filmmaker, political analyst and founder of Little Monk Productions which has produced TGP, Bishal Paul told dna and added, “Today's last minute refusal only confirms our worst suspicions.”
Nobody in the Globus management was willing to comment despite repeated calls. The security superivisor Ajay Kumar insisted that the cancellation was technical issue. After persistent queries he owned up, “The owners are being pressured from above,” without specifying who that meant.
Madhav Bhandari of the BJP said that the party was not even aware of the film. “We would oppose it only if we knew about it. If the multiplex owners are are pre-emptively taking any step fearing a backlash it means they are privy to the mischievous content and intent of the film.”
Activist Teesta Setalvad of Communalism Combat called it shocking and told dna, “This is a display of the fascist nature of the BJP against free expression.”
TGP was finally screened at the St Andrews auditorium in a last minute arrangement.