Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar said on Sunday that every person has a right to protest, but taking the route of violence and scaring off people from watching a film with a green signal from the government is not the right way to go about it.
Sircar was speaking at a panel discussion at the “Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star” here.
He said: “Let us make the kind of films we want to make. If someone has any objection with it, come on a platform like this (a film festival), discuss it, but don’t burn down halls. Don’t stop the audience — the film lovers, from going to the hall. If you have any problem, talk to us. We are ready to talk.”
It wasn’t long ago when a few activists raised an objection over the content of his film. His 2013 hit film “Madras Cafe”, set against the Sri Lankan civil war, had come under the scanner after Tamil activists alleged that it portrayed the LTTE cadres as terrorists.
“‘Madras Cafe’ didn’t release in Tamil Nadu. They had political issues regarding the film. There is a government which gives a censor certificate to release the film…for the people of India to watch the film.
“Somebody may have an individual issue with the film, but you should not stop film lovers, who want to watch the film. Don’t smash the halls. Talk to the filmmaker, debate it out, discuss it and see who is right and wrong,” Sircar told IANS here.
He also believes that if someone has an issue, he or she has the right to protest.
“I am not saying that I can’t protest. But there is a way to protest. Use an open platform where we can have discussions. Talk it out. Violence is not going to solve anything for us,” said the filmmaker, who has entertained the audience with movies like “Piku” and “Vicky Donor”.
Asked about the problem in release of Karan Johar‘s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil“, which features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, Sircar said: “I don’t want to comment on that. I am not a political person who can comment on that.”
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Saturday allowed the release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” on October 28, but with a rider: all the producers who hired Pakistani artistes, must pay Rs 5 crore each to the Indian Army’s welfare fund as atonement. Distributors and cinema owners have also come forward in support of the film.
Talking about film festivals, Sircar said that Delhi used to be the hub of such fests, where he used to learn how to make films.
(The writer is in Mumbai at the invitation of Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Natalia Ningthoujam