GUWAHATI, Sept 7 - Cutting across party lines, legislators in the State Assembly today decried the alleged biased treatment meted out to Assamese movies by distributors and cinema hall owners and demanded that screening of Assamese films be made mandatory at the State�s halls, besides allotment of prime time slots.
Raising the issue along with Gunindra Nath Das (AGP) during Zero Hour, BJP legislator Angoorlata Deka � herself a well-known actress � referred to the �unceremonious� withdrawal of the much-publicised Zubeen Garg film Mission China by a city cineplex 48 hours before the scheduled premiere show, and said that it was not a one-off incident of discrimination but was symptomatic of the shoddy treatment meted out to the Assamese film industry by the distributors and hall owners at the diktat of Hindi film lobbies outside the State.
�This has been a perennial and debilitating concern for the Assamese film industry, as halls are reluctant to screen Assamese films even when those are drawing good audiences. This is a deep-rooted conspiracy and must be stopped. The government need to intervene by making it mandatory on the part of the halls to allot prime time slots for Assamese films. There are similar legislations in many other states and this is a big factor behind the thriving regional cinema in those states,� she said.
Das said that it had been a common practice to remove Assamese films from halls even when those were running full house just to accommodate Hindi films at the behest of the powerful lobby. �It�s time the government intervened with a pragmatic film policy. Otherwise, the Assamese film industry will perish,� he added.
Cultural Affairs Minister Nava Doley, while informing that the State government would come up with a new film policy to safeguard the interests of regional cinema, said that as of now the government cannot compel a private cinema hall to hold a special screening of an Assamese film.
On the Mission China controversy, the Minister said the unsavoury episode occurred due to difference of opinion between the producer, the distributor and the hall owner.
�We are committed to upholding the cause of Assamese cinema,� he added.
Nomal Momin, Satyabrata Kalita, Abdul Khaleque, Rupak Sarma, Bhaben Bharali, Ramendra Narayan Kalita and Rekibuddin Ahmed also participated in the discussion.