first_imgThe film community expressed outrage after producers Viacom 18 Movie Productions deferred the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansalli’s historical film Padmavati amid spreading protests.National Award winning actor Shabana Azmi said, “Are we fools to not see thru the design of fomenting unrest and polarising votes? I am very angry. The film industry needs to take a strong unified action and refuse to be sitting ducks anymore.”Ms. Azmi, reacting to threats being issued to the film, lead actor Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said, “If such threats had been made against any member of the political class, would the reaction have been the same? Are the people in the film industry not equal citizens of this country?”Reacting to the producers’ decision, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap said, “It’s infuriating. It’s a shame and it’s harrowing. I don’t have words to articulate my anger.”‘Not unexpected’Director Hansal Mehta lamented that “bullies had prevailed again” and said people had resigned themselves to government inaction on such issues. Mr Mehta expressed concern over filmmakers being targeted and said the stand taken by the government in the Padmavati and IFFI row [dropping of films selected by the jury] was “disappointing but not unexpected”.“After all what is a film compared to elections? S Durga, Nude and Padmavati’to begin with. Many more to come…”“I was told by many industry leaders that it was a wise strategy to delay Padmavati. Truth is that people have resigned themselves to government inaction in the face of such blatant terror. The only advice given is to shut up, retreat and accept these attacks,” Mr Mehta said.“So SLB (Bhansali) should show the film to those who threaten to have him beheaded? And get their approval?” he wrote.Sad day: IFTDAThe Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) member Ashoke Pandit described it as a sad day for Indian cinema and freedom of expression.“This is just the beginning and it has set a bad precedent to films of the future,” he said.IFTDA along with other industry bodies such as Cine And TV Artists Association (CINTAA) and Screenwriters Association had last week protested the harassment meted to filmmakers through the extra-constitutional censoring by fringe groups.Mr. Pandit also disagreed with CBFC Chairman Prasoon Joshi’s criticism of the film being screened for select journalists ahead of certification, saying a filmmaker has the right to screen it whomsoever he pleases. “Private screenings are an industry practice and do not hinder the certification process. I do not think the film makers did anything wrong by screening it to certain media outlets,” he said.Directors Anurag Basu and Nikkhil Advani also took to social media to support Mr. Bhansali.“It’s bizarre! The whole Padmavati row is based on just presumptions. Protestors have not seen a single frame of the film yet, but they know that history has been tampered! How?”last_img

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