Thursday 31 January 2013

Angry Bollywood reacts to Vishwaroop Ban

Angry Bollywood reacts to Vishwaroop Ban

By Subhash K Jha

Khushboo: `The judgement of the court reaffirms our faith in democracy though it has come in a little too late. If this can happen to a man who has put in 50 years and every penny he has earned into films, and someone who eats, drinks, breathes and lives for the love of cinema I wonder what lies in store for others in Indian cinema. `

R Balki: `The Tamil Nadu government has to banned. What if all the people, Muslims or Hindus, who have no issues with the film want a ban on the government? Will the courts hear that? We are scared of law and order issues because of the government. `

Kalpana Lajmi: `Once the certificate of release is issued by the censor board and after the film is released, no private or judicial institution or government, be it the state or centre, should exercize its diktat and influence to ban the film, whatsoever be its content. A ban is also tantamount to curbing the freedom of expression. `

Hansal Mehta: `All a big farce. After the hullabaloo dies down Kamal Haasan would be left counting his losses. Sad that an icon is treated so shabbily in our country. `

Shabana Azmi: `The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Prakash Jha's Aarakshan that once cleared by the Censor Board Of Film Certification no state can impose a ban on a film. It is the government's business to give value to its own certification and ensure the film is shown. Those who protest have the right to do so. But if they do so violently then the law of the land must apply to them. If people are offended by Vishwaroop let them not watch the film. How can they take away the right of others who want to watch it? The Tamil Nadu government is being unfair to Vishwaroop and to the minorities it claims to protect. For starters, have they even watched the film? India's audience is not a monolith. Some may be moved. Some may be offended, or claim to be offended for political gains. So be it. Nobody is forcing the film down anyone's throat. The space for freedom of expression is shrinking and we must act now to stem the tide. `

Ketan Mehta: `This is complete nonsense. The government is succumbing to cultural terrorism in spite of the censorboard clearing the film. Isn't freedom of expression a fundemantal right? Democracy is meaningless without it. Please stop this recurring blackmail of creativity and the arts. `

Rensil d'Silva: `I think it's time we got some rules firmly in place. If the censorboard passes a film for screening the government shouldn't bow down to vested interests. Mobs cannot decide what films we should make. `

Priyadarshan: `Nobody has the right to ban the freedom of expression. `

Siddharth (Tamil star): `Vishwaroopam must be edited beyond recognition if it wants to be screened in Tamil Nadu. This is the death knell for democracy, secularism and cinema. I see more conflict between Hindus and Muslims in Tamil Nadu because of the bizarre behaviour of the government than the film. The ban on Vishwaroopam is regressive. It's a back-to-the-dark-ages blow by the Tamil Nadu government. How do we make a change? My deepest condolences to Kamal Haasan. His service to our cinema and to shaping many creative destinies needed gratitude, not betrayal. Sad. In cinema as in other fields, your punishment is directly proportionate to how much you give. Godspeed, Kamal Sir. `

Subhash Kapoor: `I think this is an attack on freedom of expression of a filmmaker. It is not only undemocratic but also sets a dangerous precedent. The state should not succumb to such pressure tactics by politically motivated groups. In my view, the film industry is like a gharib ka joru (a poor man's wife) jisska jab man karta hai sheel bhang karne aa jata hai. `

Umesh Shukla: `Freedom of expression is a must for every filmmaker. `

Anusha Rizvi (director Peepli Live): `The ban is ridiculous and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Our cultural space is increasingly being taken over by the right-wing discourse. All of us need to be on guard against this invasion of freedom and we must protest against it. I stand by Mr Kamal Haasan and am deeply alarmed at the decision taken by the Tamil Nadu government.

Mani Shankar: `It's a gross travesty of creative freedom. I can't understand how any state government can usurp power from the CBFC which has cleared Vishwaroopam. Is one censor board not enough? Do filmmakers have to please every government and non- government body to release a film? Are we really a progressive democracy? How do we grow and evolve as society if creative freedom is so curbed? `

Shyam Benegal: `What is happening to Kamal's film is very peculiar. It reeks of some kind of a vendetta. It doesn't make any sense. The fact is the hero of the film plays a patriotic Muslim doing good things for the country. They've simply gone against their own rules. Once the censorboard clears the film and if any section of the audience has any doubts or fears, the matter must be referred back to the censor board. You (the state) cannot do things entirely on your own. If you are doing things on your own then why have the censorboard in the first place? A censor certificate is valid in the entire country, and should not be disregarded in one state. A censor certificate has semi-judicial status. `

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