"we share the feelings of frustration and anguish"
One hundred and thirty artists have signed a statement, demanding the release of Saturday Afternoon.
The film is yet to come out in Bangladesh, despite the film being released in 2019.
Saturday Afternoon is about a terrorist attack that takes place in a peaceful café in the centre of Dhaka.
However, the Film Censor Board of Bangladesh placed a halt on the release of Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s film.
The censor board’s justification for hesitating to release the film was due to them alleging that it would “damage the image of the country”.
In response, 130 cultural activists and artistes have given a statement expressing their concerns regarding the censor board halting the release of Saturday Afternoon.
The group has called for the film to be released in Bangladesh.
A statement was released on November 15, 2022 and it read:
“Multiple obstacles are being put in the way of the art and cultural sector, particularly in the case of cinema, fiction, and music.
“These multifaceted obstacles are worrying about us.
“This concern is further increased, when we see that our friend, colleague and filmmaker, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki has had his film, Saturday Afternoon stuck in the censor board for more than three and a half years, without any proper reasoning.
“Recently, we have come to learn that a meeting of the appeal committee has been convened for November 17.
“In this regard, we are drawing the attention of all concerned authorities and people.
“Many of us have watched the film and cannot understand why it is being treated like this.
“So, we share the feelings of frustration and anguish that the filmmaker is experiencing.
“At a time when the rest of the world is discussing how the idea of censorship is old and archaic, we are still preventing a famous filmmaker from releasing their movie due to censorship, obscurity and unknown reasons.
“We have not yet lost faith and trust in your sense and wisdom. Our job is not to struggle on the streets, but to continue making art and helping build a progressive Bangladesh.
“We demand the unconditional release of Saturday Afternoon.”
Mostafa said that some new dialogue may be added to the film’s ending to get clearance from the Censor Board.
Despite not being released in Bangladesh, the film received a number of awards from various film festivals, including the Moscow Film Festival.