Bangladesh’s top court clears factory disaster film

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s highest court on Sunday cleared the screening of a film depicting one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, reversing an earlier decision to ban its release.


More than 1,100 people were killed in the disaster and the High Court last week halted the film, “Rana Plaza”, over concerns its gruesome images would “negatively portray” the nation’s $25 billion garment industry.

But the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice S.K. Sinha, overruled the earlier order, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told AFP.

“There is now no restriction to release the ‘Rana Plaza’ movie,” Alam said, without giving the court’s reasons.

Impoverished Bangladesh’s garment industry is the world’s second largest after China’s and a mainstay of the economy, churning out millions of pieces of clothing for Western retailers.

But the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory and other deadly accidents sparked a local and international outcry over the industry’s shoddy conditions and low pay for its four million workers.

Director Nazrul Islam Khan said he was delighted with the court’s decision and would now work to get a fresh release date.

The 137-minute film was scheduled to hit more than 100 cinemas across the country on September 4 after being given the all clear from the Bangladesh Film Censor Board in July.

The film centres on the dramatic rescue of 19-year-old Reshma Akhter from the ruins of the nine-storey complex 17 days after its collapse.

Images of Akhter, dusty and dazed, being pulled from the wreckage appeared on newspaper front pages worldwide and turned her into a national heroine.

Akhter has since married her boyfriend and found a well-paid job at a hotel run by international chain Westin, which approached her after her ordeal.

Khan told AFP the movie was “about Reshma’s love story” but also tried to “raise awareness about the life of the country’s millions of women garment workers.”