Thumbing their nose at the authorities, a section of students at Kolkata's Presidency University have announced that they will screen Anand Patwardhan's award-winning documentary Ram Ke Naam at 4 pm on Friday despite not receiving permission.
The venue: The portico of the main building of the university, which has been the site of many student agitations.
Presidency students claimed that they sought permission from the Dean of Students last week to screen the film in a university hall, but did not name it in their application. Apparently, the Dean denied permission after learning from social media posts that the movie in question was Anand Patwardhan's documentary on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's campaign for a Ram temple at Ayodhya in 1991.
In a press release, the students said they re-applied for permission again yesterday. They named the documentary in their application and asked the Dean of Students to allot them the hall at a convenient date. However, the Dean reportedly termed the film as a "politically controversial" work that cannot be screened. Students said he asked them to screen a "non-political" film instead.
"He did not provide us any official written statement on the issue. However, this cannot stop us. Screening of Ram Ke Naam will take place on the Presidency University campus with spontaneous involvement of the students. Hence, we have decided to organise an open screening of Ram Ke Naam on August 30, 2019, Friday, at 4pm at the Presidency University portico (main building)," the press release said.
The screening was planned to show solidarity with University of Hyderabad students, six of whom were detained for trying to screen the film on August 20. The authorities called in the police because it was being done "without permission".
"We had not named the documentary we wanted to show in the application we submitted last week because we never thought that Presidency University, with its exceptional progressive history, would ever object to showing a film that was against communalism," said Kalpok Guha, one of the students organising the documentary screening.
Students of Jadavpur University's Department of Film Studies had screened the documentary on Monday, also in solidarity with University of Hyderabad students.
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