Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani recently dissed those in the business of filmmaking, saying many times people create outrage just to grab eyeballs because they haven’t made a good film.
Irani’s comment came as a reply to filmmaker Karan Johar’s remark that the film industry, which is otherwise considered as a soft power, becomes “a soft target” at times. The duo engaged in a Q&A session at the inaugural ceremony of FICCI Frames 2018.
“My issue is this. Now that you recognise me as an insider, honestly put your hand to your heart and tell me, how many of us manufacture that outrage because we don’t have a film which is that good but we know we will get the eyeballs,” said Irani as the audience, including Johar, erupted into laughter.
She continued, “We are all in the business of it, it’s the best-kept secret which is just out there. Nobody wants to talk about it.” To which, Johar replied, “Okay, we won’t get into that!” To that Irani quipped, “Of course you won’t!”
The session was also attended by producer Siddharth Roy Kapur and Huma Qureshi. During the segment, Irani also said that the Indian film industry should stop comparing itself with others and set a benchmark, which others can follow.
Interacted with members of the film industry at #FICCIFrames2018 on the potential of media and entertainment industry in the country which stands today valued at Rs. 1.3 lakh crores employing close to 3.6 million citizens. pic.twitter.com/HAD7UvB6wz
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) March 4, 2018
This came as a response to Kapur’s comment that the Indian film industry hasn’t been able to find a way to defeat its Chinese counterpart in terms of box office results.
“I think we always position ourselves in comparison to others. We never really look at our strengths and then position ourselves completely different from what is happening in the world. We are always catching up. So, will we be happy playing catch up for the rest of our lives or do we as an industry decide that we define ourselves on our own terms?” said Irani.