BollywoodEntertainmentLifestyle

How a journalist’s friendship with an actor goes wrong and cops get involved

An anguished film journalist speaks out against a angry superstar in Kolkata. At stake is our freedom of expression.

Indranil Roy, senior entertainment journalist with Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin, became news two days ago rather unexpectedly. Reason: The Kolkata Police, on Friday, grilled him for four long hours for tweeting that an upcoming Bengali film seems like a  copy of a Pakistani film! Yes, you read that right! In a city with falling bridges and rising crime graph, a journalist is taken to task for a mere tweet on an upcoming film. But then again, the lead actor of the film in question is the Bengali superstar Deepak Adhikari, popularly known as Dev, who is reportedly close to the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Hoichoi Unlimited is set to release just before Durga Puja on October 12. In a tweet dated September 13, Roy had compared the upcoming Bengali flick with Pakistani hit film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani. 

Roy alleged on Twitter that some had accused him of editing the Wikipedia page of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani to back his claim. But he shared several tweets with screenshots of the IP addresses of the editors making changes to the page, which included the line “edited by Indranil Roy”. In another tweet, Roy posted the name of the alleged owner of the IP addresses.

Dev Entertainment Ventures file FIR

Subsequently, an FIR was filed against Roy by Dev Entertainment Ventures, the producer of the film, booking him under sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code. Roy was interrogated by the Kolkata Police’s Cyber Cell department.

The scarier bit is the addition of Sections 43 and 66 of IPC. Section 66 of the IT Act relates to “sending offensive messages through a communication service,” while Section 43 refers to getting access, making changes or contaminating documents on a person’s computer or computer network without permission. Whereas, Section 505 of IPC is related to circulating statements, rumours or reports that may cause offence to or harm the public.

‘I am shocked’

“As the film had yet not released I just pointed it out, and it is startling that nobody noticed it until my tweet…,” Roy said.

But he did not see what was coming. “After being a journalist for 15 years and working with reputed newspapers, this is something that I did not expect. It is absolutely new to me… And I could have never thought that a mere tweet can anger someone so much. Considering the kind of relation I have had with the superstar (Dev) in the past…” Roy says he had been in very good terms with the actor, so much so that other stars of the fraternity would complain to his editor about him being close to Dev.

“This incident gave me a perspective as a journalist, and I learnt it the hard way, that one must keep things professional. No amount of closeness means anything when you’ve to write anything against a star…” said Roy. “I wish Dev the same box-office success he used to enjoy 6 years back,” said Roy.

Directed by Nadeem Baig, Jawaani Phir Nahi Ani, is the third-highest-grossing Pakistani film ever. It tells the story of a divorce lawyer who takes his three married friends to a trip in Bangkok to help them escape their wives.

Many are saying Jawani Phir Nahi Ani have many similarities with what the teaser of the Dev-starrer comedy shows. Judge for yourself!

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Lahari Basu

Lahari Basu is a Senior Sub-editor for DBPOST and is based in Delhi. Contact this editor at lahari.basu@dbcorp.in.