There’s a gun to our head: Bhardwaj

first_imgThe controversy and violent protests against the period film Padmaavat dominated conversations on and off stage on the second day of the Jaipur Literary Festival on Friday, with filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj and Nandita Das voicing support for director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.“There’s a gun to our heads. If you have to curb your thoughts, how can you be called a democratic, and free society?” Mr. Bhardwaj said in a conversation after his session, ‘Revolutionary Poets: On Hamlet, Haider and Shakespeare’s Ability to Speak Truth to Power’.The filmmaker, who has adapted three of Shakespeare’s plays to make the trilogy, Maqbool, Omkara and Haider, said, “When the Supreme Court says a film should be released and it is not released, then if it is not chutzpah (on the part of the Karni Sena), then what is it?”In defianceMore than anger, Mr. Bhardwaj expressed a sense of defiance when asked about the climate of censorship. “This is the best time for artistes. When they try to strangulate us, we will scream. It is time for us to scream,” he replied to huge applause from the audience.Recounting his experience of filming Haider,based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet that he set in Kashmir, Mr. Bhardwaj said he had a less difficult time shooting the film in Kashmir than after the film was made. “I was called an anti-national. That hurt more,” he said.Later, on being asked if the film industry had any plans to counter the stifling of creative thought as a collective, the filmmaker said, “We are not warriors that we will fight. What we want to say, we say through our films. We have no power; we are not taken seriously, and only considered as a glamour industry.”Role of state“I hope the state becomes more powerful to stop the violent protests. The protesters are getting away with breaking the law. That’s the scary part. No one has the right to violent protests. How will this country run if the system is not being respected?” Mr. Bhardwaj said.Later actor Nandita Das, speaking about her upcoming film on writer and poet, Sadaat Hasan Manto, said neither self-proclaimed custodians of culture nor the censor board should be allowed to decide what people should watch.“The whole concept of the censor board is faulty. How can a handful of people decide what the nation wants to see?” Her decision to make a film on Manto, a champion of free speech, was precisely with the intent to trigger a conversation on a subject so relevant to India today, she said.Speaking at a press conference here on the protests, Congress leader Salman Khurshid said, “If there is dissent, there must be opportunity to express that dissent. But they must remain within the four corners of permissible limit of free expression. We are all in committed to free expression, not free oppression.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *