February 20, 2018 8:31:46 pm
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, weighing in on the Padmaavat controversy that shook the Hindi film industry, opened up about the threat to freedom of expression nowadays. At an event on Tuesday, SRK said no amount of pressure can stop creative people from telling the stories they want to.
After the Padmaavat row, many in the Hindi film industry opined that there is a fear in the artistes’ mind owing to the various attempts to stifle their voices.
But Shah Rukh Khan asserted that he does not feel scared and he believes artistes do not get bogged down by the hardships.
This was the first time that the actor addressed the controversy around the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, albeit without mentioning its name.
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In the same breath, the Raees star said that he was against talking about the issue and even suggested the film’s team to keep quiet so as to not give importance to the protesters. The actor maintained the decision to stay mum didn’t come out of fear but from the intention to playdown the controversy to protect the film’s fate.
Shah Rukh was part of a panel discussion titled Media – Shaping the future & entertainment at Magnetic Maharashtra event.
He was asked if creative people—who are emotional— should have a thick skin in times when creativity is in danger. Here’s his full answer:
“Creativity, whenever it’ll come to fore, all around the world, there are going to be people who disagree to certain parts. You will find some people who will find some reason to dislike it – be it a film, news piece, web series. It’s going to keep happening. It has happened to all of us at certain times in our career. Where certain sections of people have said they don’t like it. But the films finally do get released. If they are nice films, people lap it up.
I don’t know about the thick skin part of it but creative people do get emotional about it. One of the emotions is also that you become a little wary – you make it with so much love, where is it going, more often than not there is a certain business attached to that emotion which you can’t let go of.
Our business of films happen in the first few days. If you kill the first few days, the business suffers. Recently with the Viacom film (Padmaavat) we had people saying ‘why don’t the other stars come up, they are not coming up, oh they are hiding.’ No, we are not hiding. As a matter of fact, the simple truth is this – there is a section of people who go on an ‘uprising’ so to say.
If more prominent actors, actresses and directors came and talked about this film—as a matter of fact, many times I suggested to their team, not to talk about this, just keep quiet because you are giving wind to fire. And suddenly these people are getting more recognised by the virtue of being on all the news channels. So don’t give them importance.
Sometimes, when people are going in an ‘uprising’, you should just stand back. Nobody is scared, fearful or hiding their own skin as is said about Bollywood stars, ‘oh these people just want to earn money and not do anything for the society.’ No. We love our society. We make entertaining films and we want our society to be happy.
A part of that happiness is as a 52-year-old father, I want you to come to the theater safe and sound with your child and happily go, even if you don’t like the film. The experience should be fantastic. That’s my responsibility. So the hurtfulness is not because ‘I am worried about my film’ but I am worried about that girl, my own son watching the film.
So that’s my responsibility, as an entertainer—who has been working for more than half of his lifetime—it’s an important aspect. It’s not something that I’ve gotten scared of. No matter however much you stop them, creative people will continue making films, they will speak what they want. Sometimes there could be troubles, but they won’t be scared of the hardship.
No filmmakers goes out and makes films to insult people, to trouble regions, to disturb the community. I never think anyone does that. Specially all the responsible people. Sometimes this is going to happen.
The sooner the world realises that with this free flowing of information, technology and communication that is happening, a time is going to come when nobody can stop any idea from flowing freely. None of us can stop it. The faster we get used to this, that no matter how much we stop it, break it, hide it, the ideas won’t stop. All the more with social media and digital. This is the beauty of the current world for entertainment and media.”
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