Monday January 21, 2019

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)

  • 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

Apple Decides to Update iPhones in China To Avoid Ban

The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit

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Apple, Iphone XR, Apple Watch
Try these fitness apps on Apple Watch Series 4 for marathon season. Flickr Commons

Apple has decided to update iPhones in China to avoid a ban after a court ruling banned the sale and import of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple.

According to a report in The New York Times on Friday, the Cupertino-based tech giant said it would update the software of iPhones in China early next week to try to resolve the legal dispute.

The company said it would update its iPhones “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order”.

“Apple said its update would change the iPhones’ software so it did not infringe on Qualcomm patents, which relate to switching between apps and changing the size and appearance of photographs,” said the report.

Apple and Qualcomm are suing one another in courts across the world. Billions of dollars are at stake, and each side has claimed some victories.

A Chinese court had banned the sale and import of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple, a stunning decision that comes amid the trade war between the US and China.

Apple, however, is still selling iPhones in China.

Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

According to Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Apple is violating the court’s order.

“They are legally obligated to immediately cease sales, offers for sale and importation of the devices identified in the orders and to prove compliance in court,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple has also appealed against the Chinese court ruling.

Also Read- Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

It accused Qualcomm of playing dirty tricks, including asserting a patent that had already been invalidated by international courts, and other patents that it had never before used.

“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple said in a statement earlier this week.

The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit. (IANS)