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Salman Rushdie is claiming a Calcutta government official prevented him from attending an event promoting the film adaptation of his novel Midnight’s Children in the city.
“The simple fact is the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival,” he tweeted Thursday.
The acclaimed author had hoped to travel to Calcutta to plug the adaptation of his 1981 novel. He was slated to appear at a book event alongside director Deepa Mehta and actor Rahul Bose, the BBC reports.
“The day before I was due to travel to Calcutta we were informed that the Calcutta police would refuse to allow me to enter the city,” he said in a statement. “If I flew there, I was told, I would be put on the next plane back. I was also told that this was at the request of the chief minister.”
The Mumbai-born British author remains controversial in India, where his 1988 book, The Satanic Verses, is still banned. He has visited the country throughout the years, but canceled an appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival last year after receiving death threats.
Rushdie co-wrote the screenplay for Midnight’s Children and narrates the film, which centers on a boy who is born in 1947 at the moment when India declares independence from the British.
In December 2012, the film was approved by Indian censors without any cuts, a move that surprised some observers because the novel is critical of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Rushdie’s novel was awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1981.
Midnight’s Children‘s ensemble cast includes Satya Bhabha, Shriya Saran, Siddharth, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Shahana Goswami, Rahul Bose, Soha Ali Khan and Darsheel Safary.
The film opened in India Friday.
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