Literature and art is something that has the ability to transcend time and immortalize every element around it. Art is not just the product of the situations or circumstances around the artist, but it also his/her imagination. That is how art goes beyond time and appeals universally. That is probably the reason Art was given the highest importance in the ancient culture. But with progress, art took a backseat, but nevertheless, held its importance.
Coming closer home, India is a land that probably has given the world some of the best literary works. With changing situations, people might feel that the quality of art has deteriorated. India also manifests its strong inclination towards art and entertainment through the films, and it produces the highest number of films per year. Not just do we have a pan Indian film industry, i.e., Bollywood, but we also have so many regional film industries that hold an importance of their own.
But recent times have proved that we are increasingly growing hostile towards art. Films are constantly under glare from influential groups and film-makers are almost held at the gun-point. Films, which are pieces of art, are being discriminated. Now, this is interesting because instead of seeing the film as a whole, we see who is in the film, whether they should have been there. The past few years have seen insane demands even from the Central Board Of Film Certification. Yes, it is necessary to certify and rate a film so that they reach to the right age group, but the CBFC became a censoring body that chopped scenes and refused to rate according to their whims.
Now, this topic has probably been addressed umpteen times. But what we are not recognizing is how film-makers are put to explain their art time and again and appeal to people to go and watch their product of hard work.
Last year, during Diwali, Shivaay and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil clashed at the box office. While initially there was discontent against Shivaay for showing a man climb a Shiv Murti, the discontent quickly shifted to ADHM since it featured a Pakistani actor. The Uri attacks had been fresh in the minds and people were dismissing the neighboring country for the hostility. But that was transferred to a film that was shot way back and that had so many Indians. It looked almost like insanity, but some groups called for the film’s ban and it appeared that people will probably follow the orders. Some even promoted Shivaay and the matter escalated so much that the director Karan Johar had to post a video apology so that his film does not suffer loss. What was the apology for or was it justified?
Karan later admitted that he had felt terrible about having to apologize for nothing and felt like a hostage for having to shoot that video.
This year another film has come under the controversy. It is none other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. The director is not unknown to controversies. Ram Leela was under fire because it had Ram in it and Bajirao Mastani faced some criticism because the maker chose to use some facts according to his convenience.
But the matter with Padmavati is nothing like that. According to some ‘sources’, there was supposed to be a dream sequence where Allaudin Khalji would romance Padmavati. Now, the authenticity of the source is not confirmed, not had the claims been verified. Yet, people decided to wreck havoc on the sets. Some even destroyed the sets and had beaten the film-maker.
Despite the shortcomings, the film was shot and is all set to release on 1st December. The groups have now called a ban on the film because it would hurt sentiments of a certain ethnic group. And like Karan Johar last year, Bhansali too chose to issue a video and clarify his stance saying that he absolutely respects the group and that these are rumours which find no actualization on-screen.
This video makes us question many things. Why aren’t any steps being taken to curb the people who are vandalizing the sets or beating others? Why aren’t people waiting for the film’s copy to even go for a review under the CBFC, which has now become the Censor Board too? Why have people turned so hostile against art and artists?
While the sentiments of the makers can be understood behind creating these videos, they also promote the hooliganism that is rampant now. Not only does this at some point encourage the vandals, but also make it look like the makers are at the mercy of a few who are illogical and make insane claims.