Filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan of Masaan fame says he feels ashamed to call himself a citizen of a country where people go about freely after threatening artistes on national television.
Ghaywan was present at the screening of his short film Juice — backed by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films — on Wednesday when he was asked about filmmakers’ creative freedom in the wake of the controversy surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati.
He said: “I am genuinely appalled and ashamed to call myself a citizen of this country, because to see a man come on national television and announce that he is going to give Rs 5 crore (to anyone) for cutting Deepika’s (actress Deepika Padukone’s) nose or head and then (the offer) goes up to Rs 10 crore, and nothing has happened about it.
That is really unfortunate and it’s a sad state that we are living in.
On “S Durga” and Nude, the two films which were excluded from the final Indian Panorama selection for the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Ghaywan said: “I feel we all are feeling the pressure. Films like ‘S Durga’ and ‘Nude’ were not allowed to screen at IFFI and this is something we have to question.
But the thing deeply hurts me was that the biggest female star of our country is threatened like this on a national television and there are no charges and no arrest done so far. And it is being done to save the honour of a fictitious woman. How ironic are these times?”
Padmavati, according to Bhansali, is a tribute to Rajput queen Padmavati, and Hindu groups backed by BJP are protesting the movie’s release over concerns that it distorts history.