Known for his sensitive portrayals and intense storylines, globally renowned auteur Adoor Gopalakrishnan feels that showing disclaimers during smoking and drinking scenes in films is an “assault” on one’s work as he wonders whether films are platforms to teach good character.
A winner of multiple national and international awards, the septuagenarian director is also of the view that censorship is “anti-democratic”, archaic and obsolete in the era of electronic media.
Besides films, he has made many documentaries and short films as well as written books.
When asked about what he considers as a good film, Gopalakrishnan says, “It is like telling whether a novel is good or bad after reading it. If a film gives you a good experience, then it is a good film.”
In an interview to PTI, he also emphasised that it demands too much “from you” for providing that good experience.
Gopalakrishnan, who has made 12 feature films since his first offering Swayamvaram (One’s own choice) back in 1972, was critical about the practice of showing disclaimers onscreen when there are scenes like drinking and smoking.
“In films, advisories are shown when someone drinks, someone smokes and when there is violence against women. Is film a place to teach good character? If that is the case, then it should be shown in a country where everything is perfect,” he said.
Wondering whether people are going to become better after watching films, Gopalakrishnan opined that such practices happen mainly because films are seen more as “crass entertainment or lowly superficial entertainment”.
“Are films a kind of public wall to display posters? This happens mainly because cinemas are seen as just crass entertainment and such practices would not be there if films are seen as a work of art.
“It (disclaimers) is an assault on your work. It is a kind of disrespect for the work of art being shown there,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of Gateway LitFest earlier this month, Gopalakrishnan also pointed out that censoring is not part of a democracy and does not have any meaning in this era of electronic media.
“Censoring is not part of a democracy. It is a big mistake in a democracy. It is anti-democratic. Censoring films is an old practice and in this era of electronic media, there is no meaning for such censoring. Censoring itself is archaic and obsolete,” the noted director said.
In India, films require a certification from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is a statutory body that regulates the public exhibition of films under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
About the recent instances of protests against films that were already censored and released, Gopalakrishnan wondered then who is the censor.
“There have been instances of protests against films that were already censored. Then who is the censor? If someone doesn’t like particular scenes, then don’t watch the movie. Such entities also have the freedom to advertise that people should not watch such and such movies. But how can they say that the movie should not be shown to others?” he argued.
According to him, the Constitution is supreme, a very detailed one that has not left out anything for arbitrary interpretations.
“We have a very good constitution. I have studied constitutions of various countries. Our Constitution is very detailed and has not left out anything. We have freedom and that freedom should not be harmful to others. Freedom is allowed within the constitutional provisions,” he said.