MAT­TER OF FACT, OR NOT?

How the film frat bal­ances facts with fic­tion in films

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Monika Rawal Kukreja monika.rawal@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Be it a pe­riod drama, a biopic or a film based on real-life in­ci­dents, writ­ers and direc­tors of­ten face public ire for ‘dis­tort­ing facts in the name of cre­ative lib­erty’. Not like teams don’t re­search well, but fic­tional el­e­ments are added for en­ter­tain­ment value. Still, films such as Jodha Ak­bar (2008), Mo­henjo Daro and Air­lift (2016) faced flak for hav­ing tweaked facts.

Re­cently, film­maker San­jay Leela Bhansali and his team were at­tacked by the Ra­jput Karni Sena while shooting for his film, Pad­ma­vati, lead­ing to out­rage on so­cial me­dia. “If Bhansali wanted a dream se­quence, what’s the prob­lem? If a film is in­spired by some­one, one can add fic­tion with­out mis­in­ter­pret­ing. His­tor­i­cal facts, how­ever, have to be kept in­tact,” says film­maker Onir.

But how do in­dus­try names go about with bal­anc­ing fact and fic­tion in a pe­riod film? Film­maker Anurag Basu says, “If I were to make a his­tor­i­cal film, I’ll get a his­to­rian on board to en­sure ac­cu­racy. Yes, there is cre­ative free­dom but one should not tam­per with facts.” But isn’t a dis­claimer stat­ing the in­clu­sion of fic­tional el­e­ments enough? “It’s more for le­gal rea­sons,” says Basu. “Any­way, no­body goes to watch a film think­ing that it is go­ing to ed­u­cate them.

Those who raise ob­jec­tions are just yearn­ing two min­utes of fame,” adds trade an­a­lyst Ko­mal Nahta.

Ac­tor-film­maker Piyush Mishra, how­ever, bats against those tak­ing lib­erty in the name of cre­ative free­dom. “Even Amitabh Bachchan’s Dee­war (1975) was based on pris­on­ers of war in Pak­istan and it showed that they reach their homes, but in re­al­ity, no­body did. We can’t do that for the sake of mak­ing a com­mer­cially vi­able film.” Mishra adds that some films de­pict his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ters whose ex­is­tence is ques­tion­able, like Anarkali. But these things don’t mat­ter to cinema-go­ers, a good film does.

PHOTO: PARVEEN KU­MAR/HT

(Right) A grab of film­maker San­jay Leela Bhansali get­ting at­tacked on the set of Pad­ma­vati, star­ring ac­tor Deepika Padukone (above)

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