Tuesday September 25, 2018

Creating fear, intolerance not good for society: Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt

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New Delhi: Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt speaks up against the rising intolerance in the country as other film makers choose to remain mum. He said that such acts ‘ridicule’ our constitution and ‘debunks’ Indias claim of being a democracy.

Bhatt, who has made Janam, Arth, Naam among other acclaimed films, said that although he was happy that the nation had collectively responded to the shameful deeds which indicate intolerance, the ink attacks and the banning of Pakistani artists like legendary singer Ghulam Ali and actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan from performing or working in Maharashtra was a question mark on our democracy.

“It kind of ridicules our constitution, it shames the police, and it debunks our claim of being a democracy.”

“And when you tamper with a god-given gift in men of free thought and free speech, to create fear is not good for any individual, nor for society,” Bhatt told IANS in an interview.

Last Monday, a group claiming to be the Shiv Sena workers, blackened the face of former BJP ideologue Suneendra Kulkarni with ink while he was on his way to the launch of a book by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri in Mumbai.

A week later, Kashmir legislator Engineer Rashid, who has been protesting against the killing in Udhampur of a truck driver for allegedly carrying a cow in his vehicle, had his face blackened while addressing a press conference here.

Ghulam Ali, who was scheduled to perform in Mumbai, was forced to pull out after the Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the proceedings. As for the two Pakistani actors, they were told they would not be permitted to promote a film that is currently being shot in Mumbai.

At the same time, Bhatt admitted that one would have to live with the kind of elements that staged the attacks and show intolerance against another community.

“Instead of using this moment to create a further gap between them and us (the attackers and civil society), I would request them (the protesters) to fall in line with what our forefathers fought for. In a country which has such diversity, the most important thing that we need to do this time is to fight for the right of somebody else to be different, which we are not doing,” the Hamari Adhuri Kahani producer and writer said.

And, in an attempt to find common ground between India and Pakistan, Bhatt is coming up with a play titled Milne Do, which is a collaborative effort of theatre actors from the two countries.

Milne Do is through theatre. Theatre has got a limited audience but nevertheless reflects the ideology of civil society; celebrating the human values, those values which are as much sacred in Pakistan as they are sacred in India. Milne do would celebrate those values,” the 67-year-old said.

The play is an intense love story between two culturally-crossed individuals during times of abject hatred. It will be staged on April 24 at Shri Ram Centre here before travelling to other cities of India and Pakistan.

In another attempt on the same lines, Bhatt who made his directorial debut with Manzilen Aur Bhi Hainn  in 1974, has upcoming Punjabi film Dushman in his kitty, which will unfold a new chapter of friendship between the two countries.

Dushman is a Punjabi film because I feel that this is the time the regional cinema all over the country today is asserting itself; there is a resurgence of regional cinema. India doesn’t live only in Bollywood. Bollywood doesn’t represent the voice of India alone. There is Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Hyderabad, Bhojpuri and Punjab!,” he said.

“Punjabi cinema has an audience of its own and it has suffered a lot during partition. There is a yearning to make a Punjabi film which looks at the issue of Indo-Pak hostility with enlightened eyes. I think Dushman also revisits that idea of the enemy and there is a great quote of Nizamuddin Auliya that to live is to love your enemy…,” Bhatt said.

Associated with the Hindi film industry for over four decades, Bhatt is now seen as a narrator, exploring tales of some of Bollywood’s most iconic personalities in the The EPIC Channel TV show Khwaabon ka Safar with Mahesh Bhatt, which started on October 19.

Talking about the quality of the narratives in Bollywood movies today, Bhatt said these have gone down even as technological progress had taken the films to global standards.

“The mainstream is not as adventurous as our predecessors used to be. If you look at the stories of the people in the past, they were very brave people who went against the tide and told stories in their own unique way. They did not worry so much about whether it will work or not work. We have today lost the spark of being unique and distinct. We are frightened of being ourselves,” he concluded.

(Kishori Sud, IANS)

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  • Annu Chopra

    when hindus themselves do not tolerate hindu outfits /govt, expect muslims to exploit the golden opportunity to defame india nad push their own agenda. The bhatts and khans never spoke about intolerance of hindus/hindu religion in pakistan and middle east. But now even if one muslim locality dog dies, it is labelled as “increasing intolerance”. such persons are traitors and must be kicked out.

Next Story

Report: Twitter Users Who Joined Before Age 13 Facing Ban

The Motherboard report said that some users did not enter a date of birth when they signed up on Twitter, but added it to their profile later

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Twitter now allows live audio-only broadcasts. Pixabay

After the European Union’s new data privacy regulations came into effect on May 25, Twitter started suspending users who, it believes, joined the platform before turning 13, the media reported.

But the process has become messy as this latest wave of suspension has affected many adults, including journalists, technology website Motherboard reported on Wednesday.

Among those affected is Canadian journalist Tom Yun, who is older than 13, the report said.

Twitter notified Yun that “in order to create a Twitter account, you must be at least 13 years old” and “you don’t meet these age requirements”, according to notifications from the microblogging site shared by the journalist on a new Twitter account.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates that the age of consent for using online services should not be lower than 13.

The Motherboard report said that some users did not enter a date of birth when they signed up on Twitter, but added it to their profile later.

Twitter cannot legally keep content on its platform that was created by someone under the age of 13, but at the same time it cannot separate content created before age 13 and after, according to the company.

Also Read: Facebook, Twitter Introduce New Guidelines For Political Ads

So the microblogging site opted to suspend users whose provided date of birth indicates they were under the age of 13 when they signed up.

Although suspended users who are now eligible to sign up for the service can create a new account, the process of new suspensions reveals the repercussion for Twitter not enforcing its own rules regarding the minimum age as Twitter has long required that users must be over 13 years old to use the service. (IANS)