It didn’t take long for the horrified gasps and murmurs to start – mere hours after the media reported that Madhur Bhandarkar will present the iconic cinematic character of Apu in Bengali period drama Avijatrik: The Wanderlust of Apu, a petition started doing the rounds asking the West Bengal government to prevent such a travesty.

“Frequently rated as one of the greatest film series of all time, this series is perfect in every way. Madhur Bhandarkar is trying to make a fourth Apu movie, and I think the government of West Bengal can save us from getting a treasure trove ruined,” read the petition on change.org.

“The Apu Trilogy is the crown jewel of Bengali cinema, and is, therefore, the pride and prestige of every Bengali. If we widen our circle, then this trilogy can also be considered a treasure trove for every movie buff there is in any nation in the world. Please stop the invasion of unwanted sequel of this series, by the opportunity of copyright expiration,” the petition continues.

“I am happy to come on board to present this film. As a director and a film buff, I have been a great admirer and fan of Satyajit Ray and the journey of Apu always fascinated me. I have known Gaurang Jalan who is co-presenting the film with me, for over a decade now, and hope this will be a visual treat to all film lovers globally, including the Bengali diaspora,” Bhandarkar had told Bollywood Hungama regarding the venture which will be directed by Subhrajit Mitra.

The Apu Trilogy is widely respected in cinematic circles – based upon the works of Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhay and brought to life by none other than Satyajit Ray, Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar are arguably three of the best films to have been made by an Indian director.

“We are not remaking any of the films that were part of The Apu Trilogy made by master director Satyajit Ray. The film which Bhandarkar Entertainment is presenting, Avijatrik, is based on the novel written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay on which Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy was based, and producer Gaurang Jalan has taken the rights of the book from late Shri Bandopadhyay’s family. In Avijatrik, the Bengali filmmaker Subhrajit Mitra is taking the story forward from where Ray sir left it and the reason I decided to get associated with the project is the script and the passion with which Mitra intends to make the film. We are not touching the films made by Satyajit Ray. I am a big fan of the legendary filmmaker who helped Indian cinema reach global audiences. We are in no way tampering with the classics he made. He is and will always be an inspiration to filmmakers not only in India but across the world,” said Bhandarkar in a statement after being trolled, according to Timesnownews.

Filmmaker Pritish Nandy was also vehemently against the idea and tweeted this: