Home / News / India /  ‘Mother’s love in Norway no different…’ Norwegian Ambassador to India calls Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway a false narrative

Actor Rani Mukherjee's new release Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway released in cinemas today i.e on 17 March. The actor has been getting lot of praise for her role since the time the trailer of the film was released. Mukherjee plays the role of an immigrant mother who engages in a long-drawn legal battle against the Norwegian foster care system to win back custody of her children.

Norway’s Ambassador to India Hans Jacob Frydenlund has however said that the movie Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway carries factual inaccuracies and is completely false. He also did not deny that those who went through the experience was traumatic.

In a tweet, the Norwegian Embassy in India has also supported his stance and tweeted. “It incorrectly depicts Norway’s belief in family life and our respect for different cultures."

In an op-ed written for the Indian Express, Frydenlund added that was important for him to put forward the Norwegian perspective. 

“It is important for me to present the official Norwegian perspective and correct factual inaccuracies, that this film unfortunately portrays," he wrote in the op-ed.

He called cultural differences as the primary factor of the case as false. He added that contrary to what is shown in the film, Norwegians parents too feed their children with their own hands and read them bedtime stories. 

He wrote, “The film projects cultural differences as the primary factor in the case, which is completely false. Without going into any details of this particular case, I categorically deny that feeding with hands and sleeping in the same bed would be the reason for placing children in alternative care. Not in this case and not in any case."

Giving his own example, he stated, “as a father of three, have beautiful memories of the time my children were growing up, of feeding them with my hands, of reading bedtime stories to them as they cuddled and slept in the same bed with us."

Further adding, he wrote, “Yes, we have different cultural practices. Yes, we might have different parenting traditions in Norway. But our human instincts are not different. A mother’s love in Norway is no different from a mother’s love in India."

“It becomes unfathomable to me when I see a repeat of false narratives," he wrote in the op-ed.

Speaking about the The Child Welfare Service in Norway, he said, the system can only intervene when neglect, violence or abuse is confirmed. The fundamental principle of child welfare in Norway is to safeguard the best interests of the child.

Further speaking of “Norway is a democratic, multicultural society. In Norway, we value and respect different family systems and cultural practices, also when these are different to what we are accustomed to. But we have zero tolerance for violence in any shape or form."

"An occasional slap, however, will not automatically lead to the removal of the child from its family. In such cases, the parents will be offered help and guidance from the child welfare service on other parenting practices that benefit the child. The Norwegian Child Welfare Act applies to all children in the realm regardless of their ethnic background, nationality, or religious beliefs," he wrote.

He also added that currently 20,000 Indians are living in Norway and they also make up the highest number of immigrant workers. "I sincerely hope this movie will not discourage Indians from coming to Norway. I hope this film will be seen for what it is, and I trust in the viewers to understand that this is a fictional representation. For those involved, there is no denying that the experience was traumatic.

Directed by Ashima Chibber, the movie is based on the 2011 true story of NRI couple Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya.  In a promotional event, Rani had said, "The purpose of this film is bigger than a box office success because it needs to create awareness around the stories which happen day in and out for parents outside the country."

The movie brings to light the story of Debika, an immigrant mother that fights against all odds to win back the custody of her children. Sagarika's children were taken under protective care in May 2011 by Barnevarne, the Child Welfare Services in Norway, on the ground of "emotional disconnect" with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care according to a local Norwegian court's directive. She was reunited with her children after a two-year legal battle.

The trailer of the film starts with a shot of Mrs Chatterjee (Rani) happily going about her days in Norway in the loving company of her husband and two children, Shubh and Shuchi. However, crisis soon befalls the family as officials from the country's child protection authority one day barges on them unannounced and takes away their children. 

“Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway", stars Anirban Bhattacharya, Jim Sarbh, and Neena Gupta.

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