“Dhanonjoy Chatterjee’s Hanging Was  Honour Killing,”  Says Director Arindam Sil

Bengali  filmmaker Arindam Sil had to fight a long hard battle to put together and release his chilling chronicle of rape-and-murder convict Dhanonjoy Chatterjee who was  hanged  for his crime…

Wrongly , say a  lot of Kolkata’s  intellectual minds.  Director Arindam Sil  certainly believes this was justice subverted.

“Dhanonjoy Chatterjee’s Hanging Was  Honour Killing,”  Says Director Arindam Sil 2

“For me the journey started when I started researching and collecting newspaper data and first-person accounts on Dhanonjoy. I very distinctly remember that day in my office when I read through my material deep into the night, and emerged convinced that Dhanonjoy had been wrongly sent to the gallows.”

Arindam believes Dhanonjoy didn’t rape the alleged  victim Hetal Parekh—that they had consensual sex. And he certainly didn’t kill her, says Arindam.

If not Dhanonjoy then who killed Hetal Parekh?

Arindam  believes  it was  a case of “honour killing.”

“Dhanonjoy was like  a brother in the family. To have him indulge in sexual activity with the daughter  of the family was unacceptable. The case became  a matter of national pride. Even the then-CM BuddhadebBattacharjee’s wife actively campaigned for Dhanonjoy’s  execution.Why did it become so crucial to Bengal’s conscience to  hang Dhanonjoy? I’ve left the question open  at the end of my film. But the question of his guilt is raised very strongly and unambiguously.”

Does Arindam feel the film will open …

“A Pandora’s Box?” he offers. “There are many in Kolkata who believe Dhanonjoy was innocent.But yes, the Kolkata branch of the censor board refused to certify my film. In a panic I  rushed to Mumbai for Mr PahlajNihalani’s help. I must say he was wonderfully co-operative. His board members asked for some  cuts and my film is being released on  time. I don’t mind the cuts at all.”

About the casting Arindam says it was actor Anirban Bhattacharya all the way. “I had worked with him earlier.He was in  my mind from the start. I was startled by Anirban’s physical resemblance to Dhanonjoy. The rest just followed.  Mine is  a very dark film. And  I wanted an  actor who  could convey the darkness  of the theme without tripping over in the abyss.”


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