Amid the controversy surrounding celebrated filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming ‘Padmavati’, the Indian Films and TV Directors Association (IFTDA) along with four other bodies on Monday expressed support for him with #WeSupportPadmavati campaign and sought protection of freedom of expression of artistes.
Well-known filmmaker Sudhir Mishra told the media: “This matter is absurd. No one has seen the film. The movie director is a responsible, brilliant filmmaker. He has said that he has been accused of something he has not done.” He said he believed that the attack on Bhansali is an assault on freedom of expression.
Actor Sushant Singh, General Secretary of the Cine and Television Artists Association (CINTAA), said the government should step in. “Bhansali didn’t ask us to hold this press conference… we all are frustrated, angry, and upset. Till when will our fraternity keep asking for freedom of expression to make films? Why do we need to fight for such basic right all the time?” Singh said. “My question to the state and central governments is: Why are you silent? People from your parties are openly giving threats, abusing our families, threatening to burn theatres. I have the right to ask for an assurance from the government,” he added.
Ashoke Pandit, President of IFTDA said: “We are hurt because we have been abused and accused. We are filmmakers, creative people. We don’t deserve this kind of treatment. Every now and then, we see our makers being heckled. We work hard, we make films. Bhansali is a symbol and attack on him is like abusing the film fraternity as a whole,” he said.
IFTDA, CINTAA along with the Western India Cinematographers Association, Screenwriters Association and Association of Cine and TV Art Directors and Costume Designers have decided to extend support to Bhansali on November 16 at the Film City, where their members will stand in silence for 15 minutes from 11 am. On that day, all units and workers associations will stop shooting for 15 minutes from 4 pm as a mark of their support for freedom of speech and expression, which is the basic right of a citizen, Pandit said. He said: “In the current situation, Bhansali is not just a filmmaker who represents our fraternity but also a symbol, which has been targeted by some unconstitutional bodies. We urge our government to protect our right to freedom.”