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Bangladesh Bans Irrfan Khan-Starring ‘No Bed of Roses’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 2/17/2017 Naman Ramachandran
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Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s “No Bed of Roses” (“Doob” in Bengali), starring and co-produced by India’s Irrfan Khan (“Inferno”) has fallen afoul of the Bangladesh administration and is effectively banned.

Speculation has been rife in the Bangladeshi and Indian media that the film is a biopic loosely based on late Bangladeshi writer and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed who divorced his wife of 27 years and married an actress 33 years his junior. Farooki has denied that the film is a biopic. Variety has had access to the film. It begins with a disclaimer that the film has no resemblance to any real life characters alive or dead. Khan plays a filmmaker named Javed Hasan who leaves his wife and marries an actress who was his daughter’s classmate in school.

The film is a co-production between Bangladesh’s Jaaz Multimedia and India’s Eskay Movies with Khan’s IK Company as co-producer. The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation’s (BFDC) Joint Venture Preview Committee approved the script on March 8, 2016 after which the film went into production. The completed film was previewed for the BFDC on February 12, 2017 and received a No Objection Certificate on Feb. 15. On Feb. 16, the BFDC sent the production a letter stating that the certificate had been cancelled due to a letter from the Bangladesh Information Ministry.

Variety contacted BFDC Managing Director Tapan Kumar Ghosh on the phone to enquire about the reason for the revocation of the Certificate. He said that it is not the BFDC’s prerogative to issue the certificate and it was up to the Bangladesh Film Censor Board to issue it. However, Variety has copies of all the letters issued to the production from the BFDC and they are all on the organization’s official letterhead.

In reality, international co-productions cannot approach the Censor Board without the BFDC certificate. “We have been blocked at the first gate,” said Farooki. “As the order does not explain any reason, I don’t know why they thought screening of the film would be inappropriate. Yes, my film handles a so-called taboo subject but it doesn’t show anything explicit and hence doesn’t violate any censor code. This goes against the freedom of expression.”

Khan said, “I am really surprised to know that the government of Bangladesh has blocked the film. This is a humane story that deals with complex male and female relationships in a subtle and balanced way. What harm will it cause to the society if seen?”

Farooki is one of Bangladeshi cinema’s most visible faces with his films like “Television” and “Ant Story” receiving considerable international festival play. He is now taking the matter to court.

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