MTIFF Runs Into Bureaucratic Hitch on Film Festival Eve

Sunil Lucas breaking the news to MTIFF core team.

KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) — They did it again. The first ever Mother Teresa feature film script which was approved by Mother Teresa in 1982 took 15 years for production surviving three approvals and three “permission” denials allegedly by Mother Teresa herself. Mother died on 5 September 1997 and the film was released later in that year. Ironically, that same film “Mother Teresa: In the Name of God’s Poor” had to be shot in Sri Lanka as Dominique Lapierre’s earlier film shot in Calcutta entitled CITY OF JOY suffered severe rough weather during its Calcutta shoot, from elements within the current government, local goondas and thugs in the streets! The year was 1991!
Almost 20 years later, things do not seem to have changed much!
The much hyped West Bengal State Government Cinema complex at Nandan partnering with the third Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF 2010) for the first time has run not only into rough weather but also has become a huge embarrassment for MTIFF organizers and partners, the SIGNIS (International Catholic Media Association) and CRS (Catholic Relief Services) along with the Missionaries of Charity and the Archdiocese of Kolkata.
Nandan director Mr. Nilanjan Chatterjee had proudly offered Nandan 1, 2 &3 for all four days. He also proclaimed the same at the Nandanhe Nandan director had also offered Nandan 4 for screeing for the wheel-chair bound and specially challenged persons. The joint press conference was called by Nandan and MTIFF2010 and held at Nandan 4 on 9 August.
Suddenly on 24th August evening, the MTIFF2010 director Mr Sunil Lucas was told that NANDAN ONE would be available for shows only on the opening and concluding days of the film festival. The news put the entire MTIFF team into a tizzy, with nightmares of hundreds of ticket holders clamouring for their shows out side the venue…
On 25th August Mr. Lucas and the director of Chitrabani communications centre Fr P.J. Jospeh SJ and two Missionaries of Charity spent a considerable number of hours at the government seat of power the Writer’s Building to obtain the permission for Nandan ONE for 27 & 28 August. The order which was obtained at the fag end of the day today (25 Aug), was withdrawn immediately and the director has been summoned to appeal for a fresh order to obtain permission for the following two days screenings after the MTIFF inauguration on 26th August noon.
Another day of heart burn for MTIFF director and his trusted Missionaries of Charity duo!It is not worth the effort wasting the time and space here discussing the obvious “bureaucratic reasons” for this gross embarrassment, meted out to MTIFF which incidentally is being followed eagerly in several countries and Indian cities.
As Mother would say: When God shuts a door, he will definitely open up a window!
Incidentally, the current Marxist Chief Minister of Bengal who was scheduled to ingurate MTIFF2010 at his own favourite adda spot, reportedly will not be attending 26 August inaugural. His predecessor, Shri Jyoti Basu, though assured participation, declined to inaugurate the first MTIFF in 2003 at Mother’s beatification!

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Filed under Film Festival, Mother Teresa, MTIFF 2010, Nandan, Nun's Story

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