Kolkata: Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri on Friday faced loud protests by a section of students prior to a screening of his film “Buddha In A Traffic Jam” at the Jadavpur University here.
Students affiliated to Left-leaning organisation FETSU resorted to sloganeering and brandished posters saying “ABVP go back” as Agnihotri’s vehicle approached the campus for the screening, scheduled at the Triguna Sen auditorium by a group backed by the RSS’ student wing ABVP.
But the varsity’s alumni association had cancelled the screening on Friday morning citing poll code violation.
Despite the protests and cancellation, an open-air screening was held in the varsity’s football grounds close to the auditorium.
However, the varsity’s assistant registrar came up and requested the showing be stopped, said Agnihotri.
“We started the screening and I asked the leader of the protest to have a cup of tea with me. Then the assistant registrar came from somewhere and asked us to stop the screening. I don’t know what kind of a university it is, they can’t even decide whether the film can be shown or not shown,” Agnihotri told IANS.
Asked on why there were protests against his film, Agnihotri said: “Because for the first time in 70 years somebody has dared to expose the Naxal-academia-intellectuals-media nexus.”
According to protesting students, “preaching divisiveness and Hindu fundamentalism should not be allowed on the campus”.
The ABVP-backed organisers of the screening also drew attention to the simultaneous screening of Nakul Singh Sawhney’s controversial documentary “Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki Hai” inside the campus, a stone’s throw away from the “Buddha…” screening.
Inspired by Agnihotri’s own life, “Buddha In A Traffic Jam” deals with corruption and Maoism in a business school. The film features actors Mahie Gill, Aanchal Dwivedi, Pallavi Joshi, Anupam Kher, Arunoday Singh and Vivek Vaswani.
The film had attracted controversy earlier when its screening was sought to be cancelled at Jawaharlal Nehru University due to the volatile atmosphere there in the wake of the sedition charges levelled against some students.
However, the film was later screened on campus with Kher, a critic of the students agitation, in attendance.