‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’ hit the theatres on March 17 and while many are loving the brilliant storytelling in the film, which is based on true events, some haven’t taken the narrative of the film too well. After the release of the film, the Norwegian Ambassador to India, Hans Jacob Frydenlund said that the film incorrectly depicts the country’s (Norway’s) belief in family life. Following this, Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway producer Nikkhil Advani reacted took to Twitter and alleged that the ambassador ‘admonished’ two women at the screening. Also, Sagarika Chakraborty, the real-life inspiration behind the story, has come forward to refute the statement given by the Norwegian envoy.
Nikkhil Advani’s post
“Atithi Devo Bhava! is a cultural mandate in India. Every Indian is taught that by our elders. Last evening we hosted the Norwegian Ambassador and volunteered to show him our film Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway. Post the screening, I sat quietly watching him admonish two strong women who have chosen to tell this very important story. I was quiet because just like Sagarika Chakraborty, they don’t need me to fight for them and ‘culturally’ we do not insult our guests. As far as a clarification is concerned. Video Attached,” Nikkhil wrote. He shared Sagarika’s video along with his post.
Sagarika Chakraborty’s video
Sagarika Chakraborty, the woman who stood up against the government of Norway to fight for the right to be reunited with her children after they were taken away from her and placed in foster care and told that they will not be returned until the age of 18, in a video, said, “Hi. I condemn the false statement by the Norwegian ambassador in the papers today…he spoke about my case without having any decency to ask me. He should take this as an opportunity to sensitize Norwegian caseworkers about cultural prejudice. Even 10 years after I have single-handedly brought up my children so well in full view of the world. When the whole world can see the beautiful bond between my children and me.”
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She added, “The Norwegian Government continues to spread lies against me. Till today, they have not apologised for the racism of their caseworkers. They destroyed my life, and my reputation and traumatized my children. They supported my husband when he was cruel to me and they call themselves a ‘feminist country’. In Oslo and other parts of Norway, and (even) other parts of the world, people are very eager to watch the film and all the tickets are sold out. People coming from Norway and other countries want to meet me. And, last not least, the Indian Government helped me a lot and will continue to support such families in the future. Jai Hind.”
Norwegian Ambassador’s statement
The Norwegian Ambassador earlier said, “Children will never be taken away from their families based on cultural differences described. Eating with their hands or having children sleep in bed with their parents are not considered practices harmful to children and are not uncommon in Norway, irrespective of cultural background. Child welfare is not driven by profit. The alleged claim that ‘the more children put into the foster system, the more money they make’ is completely false. Alternative care is a matter of responsibility and not a money-making entity. The reason for placing children in alternative care is if they are subject to neglect, violence or other forms of abuse,” read the statement.
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