Amid the row over Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed Padmavati, director Sudhir Mishra today said a filmmaker’s right to express is as fundamental as a person’s right to protest. Mishra said that people have a right to express their anguish with anything they might find offensive as India is a democracy.
“As a industry we stand by each other defending our right to make films. And if any one has any problem with the film they are free to express as we live in a democracy. But you can’t take away my right to express as a filmmaker as well. It is as fundamental as expressing protest and that’s all we are saying,” Mishra said on the sidelines of IFFI Panorama Section inauguration.
Batting for Bhansali and his film, which has been postponed amid protests by various Rajput groups and political leaders, Mishra said Sanjay is a responsible person and will not hurt the sentiments of the people. “Nobody has seen the film and I am sure Bhansali has not done anything which will hurt anyone’s sentiments. I wish the film was released as Bhansali is a very responsible mainstream filmmaker. He will not do anything to hurt the value system of masses,” Mishra said.
“We all came together for ‘Padmavati’ because we believe whatever the film may be, it should first be seen. Tomorrow I may not like the film. But we are fighting for Bhansali just as Bhansali should fight for me. And I hope he does. For me, Dharavi was taken out in 1991 from theatres and nobody fought. I was alone and my career went back five years,” he added.
Mishra, who headed the jury for the non-feature film category of the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India 2017, said the festival was a place of pilgrimage to him as he started his career from IFFI. “We are here to celebrate cinema. IFFI is the platform where I started my journey as a filmmaker. I was born as a filmmaker here. IFFI is responsible for who I am and it is kind a pilgrimage for me. And I will come here whatever the problem is, because I think young deserve this,” Mishra said.
He also defended the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi who had slammed the makers for allowing the film to be screened for various media channels before certification. “Prasoon Joshi has not taken anything personally. It is his position. He is the chairman of the CBFC and he is speaking on behalf of the CBFC,” Mishra said.