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We should stop treating audiences as children: Farhan Akhtar on Padmavati, IFFI row

Farhan Akhtar said that the audiences' intelligence should not be underestimated and they should be shown films that encourage them to understand culture and think.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | Mumbai | Published: November 15, 2017 8:14 am
Farhan Akhtar reacts on Padmavati and IFFI row Farhan Akhtar condemned the treatment meted out to the works of art like Padmavati, Nude and S Durga.

The latest victims of the attack on creative freedom are two regional films that have been pulled by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry from the government-sponsored International Film Festival of India without taking into consideration the opinion of the fest’s jury.

Marathi film Nude and Malayalam movie S Durga, dropped by the centre from IFFI, were selected by the jury, which ironically is appointed by the ministry.

Besides these two movies, there is Bollywood film Padmavati, which has been attacked without fail this year. From director Sanjay Leela Bhansali being slapped, to its set being vandalised to now threats of ban and more violence.

Condemning the treatment meted out to these works of art, actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar at an event on Tuesday said that the audiences’ intelligence should not be underestimated and they should be shown films that encourage them to understand culture and think.

“It’s not about just those two films or Padmavati. This has happened with many films in the past and every time it has happened, I have spoken openly about it that it should not happen. I am totally against anything being banned. I genuinely believe that we should stop treating our audiences as children.”

“We should allow them to grow. Expose them to different types of ideas. Allow them to understand culture and think. It is important for the development of any nation that there are viewpoints, that are not always in agreement with the majority,” Farhan added.

The actor spoke at the launch of director Karan Anshuman’s book Kashmir Nama. Farhan and Karan have collaborated on projects like Bangistan and Inside Edge.

Slamming the violence that Padmavati has been subjected to, the actor said that it is the responsibility of CBFC and the government to protect films and filmmakers.

“In cinema, there is no such law that if a film releases, come what may you have to watch it. You have the freedom to boycott the film. To spread the message to boycott the film but what you don’t have is the freedom to threaten someone with grievous bodily harm, or break someone’s theater or hurt someone in any way. And unfortunately, that’s where the line hasn’t been drawn properly.

“We as a film industry are dependent on the CBFC to tell us what is okay and what is not okay. We have accepted that. Beyond that, it is up to the I&B ministry and the government to protect the films and filmmakers. That’s what I have always believed and that’s what I believe in case of these three films,” said Farhan Akhtar.

In the case of Nude and S Durga, it is the I&B ministry that stifled creative freedom by the dropping two films from IFFI. So, where do artistes go in this case? According to Karan, “We fight, protest and don’t take that lying down and we stand up for our creative rights.”

After listening to the director, Farhan joined in, saying that it is also important for the film fraternity to raise voice every time there is an attempt to stifle freedom of expression.

“This has happened in the past. Films that have been banned have gone to the tribunal and they got cleared. The process might have been painful and long but I think it will happen. It’s the time for the film fraternity to come and stand together on these issues. Unfortunately, we also have ourselves to blame.

“We can’t keep pointing at others. There has been a lack of unity when it comes to these things. We get scared only when it is our film. This is very unfortunate. We are a really small industry, so if we don’t come together then no one will do for us,” he said.

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  1. K
    Nov 16, 2017 at 3:59 pm
    Proud nepotist, college drop-out, POS Farhan Akhtar speaks about issues which he does not quite well understand or he wants to interject his religious faith by supporting the inaccurate portrayal of Alauddin Khilji
    1. Chandrasekhar Das
      Nov 15, 2017 at 10:41 pm
      just don't utter illogical things
      1. P
        Prasann Singh
        Nov 15, 2017 at 9:57 am
        Freedom of expression was given to Muslims to protest against previous rohingya crisis in Myanmar. What they did, vandalized Amar jawan jyoti in Mumbai ( the very pride of nation). No film maker of jihadi sect condemned it. Becoz they were doing jihad against kafir regime. Movie theatre is not a place of pride of Nation. The only solution to this jihadi ideology uprising in Bollywood is to boycott all jihadi actors movie. Finish the nexus of this jihadi and underworld from film industry. They only understand, what suit them. This nexus will be destroyed, its promise to nation integrity.
        1. P
          Prasann Singh
          Nov 15, 2017 at 10:53 am
          Bollywood is biggest hub of investing black money and hawala transaction. If strong quarantine is not implemented on Bollywood. They will become biggest threat to Nation. They are the only people who do mujra in parties of Dubai for underworld gangster. There every film is indirectly funded by isi through underworld nexus. Our deepika g went to dawood for investing in her ambitious venture with tom Cruz in hollywood. For deepika INDIA has regressed as nation but begging to underworld criminals for investment is progressive to Nation.
        2. Hashim Padiyath
          Nov 15, 2017 at 9:10 am
          Well said Farhan. Now the troll factory will train their guns on you.
          1. N
            Nov 15, 2017 at 8:47 am
            Whose culture they should understand from your perspective Mr Farhan? Don't make mockery of 13000 women self immolated when Akbar captured Chittoor? This Padmavati should be different for Gazni/ Moahuls? Don't create exceptions and make it as rule.The producer can beg and people will give him alms and not at the cost of mocking at culture by proving Bollywood good boy to Pakistan and other minority audience.We had enough like this from Boolywood and let down ourselves. We have shameless TV channels they only chant Freedom of expression and dissent when people protest against controversial movies like this. Affected communities know better history than the film producers and actors/tv channels.
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