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Filmmaker Balachandra Menon feels freedom is being misused in India

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New Delhi: Veteran Malayalam film personality Balachandra Menon feels freedom is being misused in India and does not believe in the manner in which protests are conducted as they break all permissible levels.

Asked about his concept of “creative freedom” for filmmakers, Menon, who has directed more than 40 films and acted in close to 100, told reporters: “There is a strong social premise in our country and I feel today freedom is being misused and not used. There is a right to protest in our country, but at times, the manner in which the protest is done breaks all permissible levels. I don’t agree with it at all.”

The 62-year-old will be in New Delhi to screen his latest film “Njan Samidhanam Cheyyum” to a select audience. He will also interact with them. The film released last year.

Talking about the information and broadcasting ministry’s decision to set up a new committee to look into the functioning of the censor board, which has been mired in controversies, Menon said: “Over the years I have always said what I wanted to say through my films. I have ensured that I will not allow anyone to question what I tell through my films.”

“I have expressed it well too, and have at times argued for the right to express my creative freedom with the censor board officials, and they have allowed me to express it the way I want it.”

Menon, who entered filmdom in the 1970s and has a distinctive style, also pointed out that there are numerous clubs in the country which insist on a dress code.

“Please don’t misunderstand that I am batting for the censor board. But I say the truth from the bottom of my heart.”

“It was in 2001 that in a leading vernacular newspaper I wrote an open letter to then Kerala chief minister A K Antony saying that some sort of benchmark should be set for TV programs. There are rules and regulations, and we live in a country where the Constitution gives us rights and at the same time there are things that have to be restricted.

“Hence, I believe the law of the land should be adhered to,” added the filmmaker, whose debut directorial “Uthrada Rathri” had an A-certificate.

Commenting on the emergence of film festivals across the country, Menon said: “The concept is good, but it should not be hijacked by people with an agenda. If that happens, then the concept of holding festivals would be lost.”

While he appreciates the proliferation of digital media for the film world, Menon stressed that a film’s success is not dependent on digital media because people come in huge numbers to theaters if a film is good.

“The success depends on the way the film is made and not whether it’s promoted through the digital media.”

About his future projects, Menon, who has introduced hugely popular actresses like Shobana, Parvathy, Karthika, Annie and Nandini, said he was soon going to don the greasepaint in the film “Oozham”.

He will act in the movie along with upcoming star Prithviraj. The film’s shooting will begin in April. (IANS)

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  • P. B. Josh

    That is exactly what the Honorable Judge said in granting six months conditional bail to Kanhaiya Kumar. She termed JNU students misuse of FOE as cancerous organs which need to be amputated.

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Indian Cinema Holds a Special Place in The Heart of Anupam Kher

Like Anupam always says, "Kucch bhi ho sakta hai (anything can happen)", seeing his journey so far, he wonders how god has forever been kind to him

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Anupam Kher
History will not misjudge Manmohan Singh: Anupam. Flickr

From working in Indian films for over three decades to achieving global fame with several international projects, veteran actor Anupam Kher, who is currently in the US shooting for his new American series “New Amsterdam”, says he can never overlook Indian cinema for foreign projects.

“It feels good when I get recognition for my international movies and shows, but for me, my own (Indian) cinema is very much important. When I am in some foreign country, I always introduce myself as, ‘I am an international actor from India’.

“Being an Indian actor, I cannot overlook our cinema. And I feel there is no dearth of South Asian actors in world cinema because it completely depends upon the person whether he/she wants to act in international projects or not. Our Indian cinema is self-sufficient in its own way,” Anupam Kher told IANS over phone from New York.

After playing pivotol roles in Oscar-nominated Hollywood movies like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Big Sick”, the 63-year-old is currently working in medical drama “New Amsterdam”.

According to Anupam, he has “reinvented” himself by essaying the role of Vijay Kapoor in the show.

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher, flickr

“Through ‘New Amsterdam’, one of the main things I have learnt is the relationship between doctors and patients. For this show, we are shooting in a real hospital, so I often get a chance to meet patients and doctors. Interacting with the patients made me understand the real value of relations and emotions.

“Now I know what families go through if their loved ones are battling with some illness. I am evolving as a person with this project.”

As the show is already on air and is garnering great response from viewers, Anupam Kher considers this project a “huge achievement”.

Like Anupam Kher always says, “Kucch bhi ho sakta hai (anything can happen)”, seeing his journey so far, he wonders how god has forever been kind to him.

Be it his negative role in “Dushmani” or his comic avatar in “Haseena Maan Jayegi”, the versatile actor, who has been entertaining people with his performances for over 30 years. He has also been feted with civilian honours like the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher (Wikimedia Common)

“A young boy from Shimla who dreamt of becoming an actor, successfully paved a path in Bollywood and is now working in Hollywood. What else could I have asked for? I feel blessed that god has always been kind to me. This project has given me a different kind of achievement. I always wanted to do something different and now I have reinvented and explored my new side with ‘New Amsterdam’,” he added.

Apart from his international projects, Anupam Kher is also preparing for his next Hindi film “The Accidental Prime Minister”, a biopic based on the life of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Anupam Kher, who plays Manmohan Singh in the film, underwent transformation to get into the role. He says it is one of the most challenging roles he has ever done.

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The actor said: “It took 4-5 months to make my body language similar to Manmohanji and a complete month for having control over my voice. It was not like ‘Go inside (the make-up room) and come out (dressed) as Manmohan Singh’. The character demanded huge hard work and I tried my best to play the role with sincerity and conviction.

“Portraying Dr Manmohan Singh’s life on-screen was like a scientist working on his/her discoveries and theories because it is not easy to represent someone who is known by the world. Manmohan Singh is a politician and leader of this generation. People know everything about him. I hope I have done justice to his character.” (IANS)