BANISHED wins National Film Award in India
Nirbashito, the film based on Taslima Nasrin, won the Best Bengali Film Award at the 62nd National Film Awards. After many snuffed-out attempts by several filmmakers, for the first time a film on Taslima Nasrin's life was released at the Mumbai International Film Festival in October 2014. The film — 'Nirbashito' (Banished) — is inspired by Taslima and her cat, Minu. In the film directed by Churni Ganguly, Minu is called Baghini (tigress). The author is, however, not named anywhere in the film. That did not dampen Taslima's joy. Speaking to TOI from New York, Taslima said, "I feel relieved the film was finished and released in India. It is a victory for me. It's a political success." Banished from her homeland in Bangladesh, Taslima has been living in exile for the last 20 years trailed by threats and controversy.
Several attempts to make films or television serials on her life were shelved as producers backtracked out of fear.
"Nirbashito is more than a film to me. It is an assertion of freedom of expression and human rights. My heartfelt love for Churni and her director husband Kaushik Ganguly, who first approached me for the film in 2009-10," said Taslima.
Actor Churni Ganguly debuts as a director in 'Nirbashito', a bilingual film in Bengali and English shot in Kolkata and Sweden. The cast comprises reputable Bengali and Swedish actors. She admitted there was apprehension for about a year and a half while she wrote the script. But, her conviction saw her through. "I don't want to sell a controversy. The film is not a biopic. It is about tolerance, love and commitment to a belief. I am so glad Taslima Nasrin agreed to the film," said Churni.Churni plays Taslima's character in the film — a character that does not have a name. “She is everywoman anyone can relate to. She is a woman punished for speaking her mind, for thinking differently," said Churni. The film is a satirical and fictionalized take on Taslima's difficult trek through life. It is told through her "painful separation" from her pet cat when she was forced to leave Kolkata in November 2007 after a daylong mayhem on the city's streets demanding her ouster.
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