Selective outrage over films is wrong, says Bhandarkar

Panaji, Nov 23 (IANS) Selective outrage over films is wrong, National Award-winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar said on Thursday, claiming that those who are backing Sanjay Leela Bhansali over his controversy-marred film “Padmavati” did not support him when his “Indu Sarkar” came under fire.

“I said very often that when it came to my film, the selective outrage attitude of people over films is wrong. There should not be things like this. I was disillusioned because I did not get any support from anyone, nor from any intellectual.

“I thought those people who also speak of freedom of expression will come and support. There was no support from that side,” Bhandarkar told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.

The filmmaker said that making a movie based on history or politics was a “big problem” irrespective of the administration in power and that the best way to get around the issue, was to fashion the film as fiction.

“Whatever the administration, these things happen. The censor (board) said you call the movie fiction, so I added a big disclaimer. Then no one has a problem. But if you are saying it is real and the story is about history and politics, then it is a big problem. You cannot make it. Somebody will come and make a petition to want to stop the film,” he said.

Bhandarkar also elaborated on the travails he had to face as director of “Indu Sarkar”, a film set in the Emergency era. He said they mirrored today’s woes of Bhansali.

“When you are making a film, there is always a fear that political parties might do something. Such things have happened. We named the film ‘Indu Sarkar’ and said it was set in the times of Emergency. Then I felt that people were uncomfortable. There were controversies and it was said that the film is sponsored and it should be banned, show it to us. The same thing which is happening to Bhansali,” Bhandarkar said.

He also said he had to change and tweak a lot of things in “Indu Sarkar”.

“I was alone in fighting the battle with my team from the High Court to Supreme Court to the censor board to the states, everywhere. There was a lot of difficulty and this has been happening for some time now,” Bhandarkar said, adding that several films like Nana Patekar’s “Ghulam-e-Mustafa”, Tom Hanks-starrer “Da Vinci Code”, Akshay Kumar’s “Singh is Kinng” and Punjabi film “Sadda Haq” faced hostility before their release over a variety of reasons.

“It is not a new thing. We have seen over many years that problems crop up. We are a diverse country,” Bhandarkar said.

The director also said that the censor board should be the final authority when it comes to the release of films and there should not be scope for any other individual or organisation to usurp that role.

“For once, after the censor board passes the film, then no one should have an objection and the movie should be released, whether it is any film, whether ‘Padmavati’ or anything else,” he said.

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