The onus is now on the Home Ministry since State Governments are indifferent to the vandalism, says IFTDA convenor Ashoke Pandit
By Manishaa R
Following mounting protests in various parts of the country against the release of Padmavati and fresh threats issued by the Rajput Karni Sena to Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone, the IFTDA (Indian Film & Television Directors Association) on behalf of the filmmaker, has now knocked the doors of the Home Ministry seeking the unhindered release of the film, “The onus is now on the Home Ministry to take action since the State Governments in Rajasthan and other territories are indifferent to the open vandalism and threats being made by the Karni Sena. We would like to protect the interests of our members at all costs The Home Ministry cannot shirk away from responsibility,” filmmaker Ashok Pandit, Hon convenor of IFTDA said, adding that IFTDA was committed to fight for the cause of each of its members, “We had fought for the undisputedrelease of Udta Punjab and Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar too,” he said.
According to Pandit, the Government was duty-bound to protect the interests of filmmakers, since it was the medium of cinema that filled the coffers of the Government, “Let’s not forget that a filmmaker invests his lifetime assets to make an entertaining film which fetches crores of rupees for the Government’s coffers through GST/Entertainment taxes,” he said.
Pandits stated that it was the Government’s responsibility to ensure that “fringed groups” did not take the law into their own hands and threaten the interests of filmmakers in a democratic society, “We are all bound by a Constitution and if anyone has a problem against any creative piece of art, there is a manner of protest. You can go to Court in protest, but vandalism, destruction of theatres and threats are definitely not the answer,” he claimed insisting that the Karni Sena was being given a free hand in disrupting law and order, “What is the use of a ruling political party if it prefers to remain indifferent? In that case, let the Karni Sena rule the country,” he stated, arguing that the political parties were all silent because of vote bank politics, “It’s not just the ruling party, even the opposition members of the Congress or the CPI are not condemning all the violence; they are looking at the vote bank in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The film industry is literally under siege today, with no single party fighting for its cause,” he said.
The filmmaker and social activist, who has actively fought for the cause of Kashmiri Pandits in the past, recalled from his own personal experience and how he had put a tough fight against Vishal Bharadwaj’s award-winning film Haider, which had emphathised with terrorists across the border, “I had backed all the protests against Haider because I did not support Vishal Bharadwaj’s point of view. We spoke against it strongly but we did not say we would attack Vishal Bharadwaj. That was his freedom of expression,” Pandit said.
“It’s not just the ruling party, even the Congress or the CPI in the opposition are not condemning the violence; they are looking at the vote bank in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The film industry is literally under siege today”- Ashoke Pandit, Convenor, IFTDA
He further argued that Bhansali was the last filmmaker who deserved to be abused in this manner, “He is one of the finest directors, producers, writers in the country. He is today’s K.Asif, Mehboob Khan and Kamal Amrohi, today’s Rajkapoor and Guru Dutt. He surely does not deserve to be treated in this fashion. Moreover he has time and again claimed that his film is a tribute to Rani Padmavati’s courage and honour and he has not deviated from historical facts,” he quipped