Friday April 20, 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

Britain To Ban Sale Of Plastic Straws In Bid To Fight Waste

Britain planning to ban the sale of Plastic products

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An alternative for plastic straws.
Stainless steel straws are displayed at the cooperative Sin Plastico (Without Plastic), which offers environmentally friendly household items free from plastic materials and packaging, in Bilbao, Spain, April 6, 2018. Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single-use items. VOA

Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single-use products and is pressing Commonwealth allies to also take action to tackle marine waste, the office of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said.

It said drink stirrers and cotton buds would also be banned under the plans.

May has pledged to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as part of a “national plan of action.”

“Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” May said in a statement ahead of a Commonwealth summit Thursday.

A woman drinking from plastic straw
A woman drinks from a paper cup through a plastic straw on Westminster

Leaders from the Commonwealth — a network of 53 countries, mostly former British colonies — are meeting in London this week.

May is looking to deepen ties to the Commonwealth as Britain seeks to boost trade and carve out a new role in the world ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union in March next year.

Britain will commit 61.4 million pounds ($87.21 million) at the summit to develop new ways of tackling plastic waste and help Commonwealth countries limit how much plastic ends up in the ocean.

“We are rallying Commonwealth countries to join us in the fight against marine plastic,” May said.

Also Read: Plastic-Eating Enzyme Accidentally Developed By Scientists

“Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.”

The statement said environment minister Michael Gove would launch a consultation later this year into the plan to ban the plastic items. It gave no details who the consultation would be with.  VOA