this is true the evolved unbiased thinker is vulnerable to attack for the unevolved biased lot
Jalsa , Mumbai Aug 10 , 2011 Wed 8 : 56 PM
” … this is true the evolved unbiased thinker is vulnerable to attack for the unevolved biased lot …. “
A question put up during the debate in Symbiosis International University this afternoon in Pune where we had gone to participate within the realm of furthering the promotional activity of ‘Aarakshan’, drew my attention to what a follower of mine on Twitter mentioned above. The ‘vulnerability of the evolved unbiased thinker’ !
Why does not the Film fraternity of India and more so of Mumbai, have a force or body that stands up and protects its own under attack on occasion from groups that take objection to the very spirit of the freedom of expression, inscribed so prominently and decisively in our revered Constitution. Why whenever we are at the stage of bringing our heads above the cacophony of the world with its myriad issues, to perhaps simply breathe, do forces that seek resentment attempt to strangulate us.
I have no answer at all, other than quote philosophical comments borrowed from others. Bodies that represent political power have their philosophy and their man power and their following to support such acts were they to be at the receiving end. But an artist, a creative person does not further the cause of politics. He or she furthers the cause of creative expression. If creative expression is to be curbed by institutes that wish to dictate their terms and conditions above the conditions of the legal recognized constitutional formats, democratically accepted and converted into law by the highest authorities of legality, then we might as well accept that we live not in the sanctity of the tenets of democracy but a most unfortunate fascist conditioning.
The Government having constituted a statutory body to look into any discrepancies that creative artists may indulge in, through the esteemed office of Central Board of Film Certification, recognizes thereby the importance of the creed of the constitution. Now, how many constitutional bodies does a film maker need to go to in order that his work of art be passed for public consumption. If the law states that every political party needs to give approval, if every society, every national needs to give approval, then making cinema is not an art. It also may never be able to see the light of day for, if every individual needs to give its approval, then who is left to see the film in the theatre .. ?
In the film industry the artist community shall always remain vulnerable because our job is to make films or paint or write a book. We will never get the deliverance that is being sought from us by the kind of question that has been asked. Our entire career is dependent on making sure that the largest number of people love patronize and admire our work. Taking an attitude of confrontation diminishes our clientele. We would rather that the audience have the option whether they wish to see our product or not. Do not if you do not wish it. Criticize it if you do not like it. But to damage attack and vandalize it and its inhabitants does not fall in our system of law. Posters will burn, effigies shall be set ablaze, demonstrations shall be run wherever we go in public. Fine ! The electronic media shall cover the event and break news with it for the day or hour or a few days. The print shall cover it at best in its third or fourth page. But soon enough, TRP concerns and sale calculations shall perforce editorially become a binding as to how far they would wish to extend the issue. The question is, does it resolve the issue ? I would imagine not. There will be great notice for those that show revolt. There shall be a ripple effect on the unpaid publicity of the film. But once certified, and in the case of ‘Aarakshan’, getting justification from the High Courts of the country, who have dismissed the petition of those that opposed, there is very little else that can be done. The film will release and those that shall see it shall realize that there wasn’t any element in it that they were revolting about. To save face they may submit on a few matters that they felt should be rectified, and that the Producer and Director shall readily perform, because he is at the end of his tether at the time of release, where he and several hundreds of others that have tediously and untiringly devoted years and months and days and night to construct the product, shall perforce have to submit ; an act that does not require him to do so under any legal obligation.
So we are the ones beaten to death. We shall in order to buy peace submit. We shall live perpetually in fear of constant repercussions were we not to. We will be given protection from the administration as a gesture of the the kindness of the governance. But we shall never be given the freedom to live and breathe the free air of independence. It is a sad surmise of who we are and how we are made to exist !
The vulnerability comes from the fact of celebrity status. A status that becomes attractive to those that are in the business of information. Caste based atrocities may be occurring in other parts of the country or world, but would never garner the kind of coverage that it would, were it to be connected to a personality.
In that sense we live subdued lives. We live in the fear of humiliation and drastic action. We are ostracized time and again when we are subjected to opinion on matters of social and moral and political issues by the media. For them it is a value to their channel or printed matter. For us it becomes an expression that will, in the days and years that follow, be stamped on our foreheads for the rest of our lives to be exploited by vested interests.
What then is the solution. The solution is one that shall sound defeatist and most unheroic. It will, most ironically, be the exact opposite of what is generally accepted and appreciated by the audiences in the cinema halls. A situation where we as artists that portray leading men and women, heroes and heroines, shall eat humble pie and contrary to what is expected of us, fall in line to the dictat of the oppressor and submit. Our stakes are much too much at risk. Those that strike us shall revel in the gains of their politics and be recognized for the noble work they were able to execute. And we shall become the innocent and pitiable victims of an order that was never meant to be of our making.
There are instances of those though, within the fraternity of public celebrity life, that have found a way out from this. And their solution has been that oft repeated adage - if you cannot beat them join them ! And this has been seen most successfully in the Southern regions of our land - MGR, NTR, Jayalalita, Chiranjeevi and many other examples, have through the sheer power of their following, been able to convert their massive public status, into political belief and most creditable success. They are exceptional in what they have been able to achieve, and one admires their guts in being able to take those decisions in their lives and carry it through. But all public figures and celebrities are not in possession of their attributes. What of those that wish to exist and live within their own creative means, as artists, involved in just trying to work towards perfecting their craft. Are they losing something in life. Are they missing out on something that should have been done. I have no answer. It troubles me and it shall remain there too with me when it occurs the next time, for, undoubtedly there shall many such repeats. But I shall learn to look upon this phenomena as an occupational hazard, or better still an occupational compulsion.
We shall readily succumb again and yet again with smiling face and we shall be ready with folded arms to receive and welcome the presence of those that subject us to such disorder. We shall still be considered important enough to be asked to grace their private or professional functions, to canvass for their votes at times of elections, to decorate that family portrait that their wives and children may desire, but never, never shall we be that important to be understood or reconsidered at the time of trial of a cause that belongs to us, or one where their interests were to to be jeopardized.
I have spent eight hours on the road today, as Prakash Jha, the director and producer of ‘Aarakshan’ and me have travelled to Pune and to the prestigious Symbiosis International University to debate with the students of the faculty on matters concerning our film and have seen how every second his mobile has been ringing carrying issues that only stipulate the stoppage of his work of creative art, and how he has been battling each section of those that provoke him, enmesh him, taunt and question him with a single purpose agenda of negativity. He set out as a creative mind to put on celluloid his vision of a story he wanted to weave to entertain the audiences of his world. Instead, I find him weaving himself with the utmost dexterity on matters that he should be made to bear, not of his calling. For an artist it must be the most distressful moment. In the middle of his numerous explanations that he had to face of his own art, which I believe no artist should relish, I asked him what ‘they’ were saying. He explained at length what ‘they’ were. I asked him then what did he say.
He looked at me with the painful eyes of a boxer in the ring waiting for the verdict to be announced after a rugged bout and said -
” Its not the time for me to say. Its the time for me to listen.”