Five in­dus­try bod­ies call for a shut­down to protest against curbs on cre­ative free­dom


A DAY af­ter Sanjay Leela Bhansali agreed to screen Pad­ma­vati for a spe­cial com­mit­tee to as­suage cer­tain right-wing out­fits’ fears re­gard­ing the “dis­tor­tion of his­tory”, there is a new twist to the tale. Hav­ing fought a lone bat­tle so far, he has found sup­port within the in­dus­try.

Five bod­ies from the film in­dus­try — In­dian Film and Tele­vi­sion Di­rec­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion (IFTDA) along with Cine and TV Artists As­so­ci­a­tion (CINTAA), Western In­dia Cin­e­matog­ra­phers As­so­ci­a­tion (WICA), Screen­writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (SWA) and As­so­ci­a­tion of Cine and Tele­vi­sion Art Di­rec­tors & Cos­tume De­sign­ers along with Al­lied Union Maz­door — have an­nounced a shut­down on Novem­ber 16 at Film City in Gore­gaon as a mark of protest against the curbing of cre­ative free­dom. All shoots at the sub­ur­ban stu­dio will be halted for 15 min­utes from 4pm. The mem­bers will also hold a rally to show their sol­i­dar­ity for Bhansali.

At the press con­fer­ence held in the city yes­ter­day, mem­bers of the said or­gan­i­sa­tions also made an ap­peal to in­for­ma­tion and broad­cast­ing min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani and home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh to en­sure a smooth re­lease of the Deepika Padukone, Ran­veer Singh and Shahid Kapoor-star­rer.

IFTDA pres­i­dent Ashoke Pan­dit said, “It is shocking that a film­maker like Bhansali is heck­led and abused. We have come to­gether for free­dom of ex­pres­sion for film­mak­ers. It’s high time the gov­ern­ment took nec­es­sary ac­tion.”

Re­act­ing to how cer­tain out­fits in­clud­ing the Ra­jput Karni Sena have sought a ban on the film, di­rec­tor Sud­hir Mishra said, “The CBFC should have the fi­nal say. No one has seen the film, so how can they come to a con­clu­sion?” Ac­tor Vikram Gokhale said the up­roar by right-wing out­fits is “a mock­ery of democ­racy”. “Why do we need to take per­mis­sion from a fringe group or a po­lit­i­cal party? The au­di­ence can form their own judg­ment.”

Still from Pad­ma­vati; (left) Film­mak­ers at the press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day; (be­low) Sanjay Leela Bhansali

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