A state of intolerance…

 Film making is rightly considered as a profession which allows the creative juices to flow out of people. It provides people with the widest extent of unleashing their creativity. A director puts his creativity to use in an attempt to create a world of his own. A film maker takes all sorts of cinematic liberties (He’s bound to). Historical depictions are subject to a considerable amount of distortion. History is something which is always created. Distorting history can prove extremely fatal. The recent attack on director Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes as a wake-up call that Hindu extremism is no longer a myth, but a harsh reality.

Film maker Bhansali was slapped and beaten by the members of the Karni Sena while he was working on the sets of his upcoming film Padmavati starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. Bhansali was attacked in front of his crew and security personnel.  Karni Sena is a group of hardcore Hindu radicals. (Well, it would be right to call them radical after the attack). The situation slipped out of hand and the security personnel were forced to fire in the air in order to disperse the goons.

The fact that Bollywood celebs have become a soft target for religious fundamentalists all across the country is a harsh reality we just refuse to accept. Bhansali was attacked apparently because the film contains a dream sequence, as a part of which, Allahudin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) and Rani Padmavati (Deepika) are shown romancing. The fictional reconstruction of the largely inadequate historical records is quite obvious.The fact of the matter is, without a reasonable degree of creativity and imagination, historical biopics can’t be created.

The other things which’s quite obvious is that the assaulters, who have a problem with a movie which hasn’t even been completed,were trying to shed their anger at an imagined dream sequence showcasing inter-religious romance. (What pity).

Films such as Jodha Akbar, Mohenjodaro and Bajirao Mastani were largely fictionalized accounts of history.  The creative fraternity has become an easy target, as are writers and journalists in contemporary India. This attack aimed at licensing and normalizing violence through various online and offline modes. It was aimed at instilling permanent fear amongst the members of the creative fraternity.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time such incident has happened. Mahira Khan, the Pakistani actress, wasn’t allowed to be a part of the promotionAl events for this Bollywood flick named Raees. Furthermore, filmmaker Karan Johar was forced to pay a ‘ransom’ of INR 5 crore just because Pakistani actor Fawad Khan was a part of his directorial venture ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. Bollywood’s Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan too, came under immense scrutiny for airing his wife Kiran Rao’s opinions on intolerance.

 Needless to say, It’s easier for people to complain. The attack on Bhansali comes as a wake up call that the ‘Senas’ are completely unafraid of the law. The reason that they aren’t afraid is strong enough for them to beat renowned filmmakers. It’s a clear case of organized violence.

It seems like people are far more scared of a figment of someone’s imagination than they are of reality. Indian history has been an epitome of secular thinking. The real history is made up of numerous intertwined threads which have helped produce some breathtaking architecture, art and music.

The assumption  that the attackers hadn’t even read the script, but had heard of a possible dream sequence between the lead pair is speaking volumes. It brings to light the fact that rumourmongering and hearsay have become a means of spreading instant fear amongst the members of the creative fraternity.

Art is bound to lose its relevance if it is confined by boundaries. It’s quite disheartening to see in the name of patriotism, we aim to confine imagination,art and culture that’s abstract.

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