Since BJP came to power in 2014, things have changed for the worse. A country polarised along religious lines isn’t the India we have known. Besides, the BJP and its allies have failed miserably in keeping their election promises. They now use mob lynching and cow vigilantism to split the country communally.
Bhubaneswar: As the first phase of Lok Sabha election is just few days away around 100 filmmakers from across the country have come together to issue a statement to “Save Democracy” and oust the BJP from power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections
The list includes veteran documentarian Anand Patwardhan, National Award winner Vetri Maran, who recently directed the Dhanush-starrer Vada Chennai, popular Malayalam language producer/director Aashiq Abu, festival director Bina Paul and other well-known independent filmmakers such as Gurvinder Singh, Devashish Makhija, Pushpendra Singh, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and Kabir Singh Chowdhry.
They said that ever since the BJP came to power in 2014, things have changed for the worse. A country polarised along religious lines isn’t the India we have known. Besides, the BJP and its allies have failed miserably in keeping their election promises. They now use mob lynching and cow vigilantism to split the country communally. They spread hate campaigns with the help of the internet and social media. Any individual or institution that raises the slightest dissent is labelled an ‘anti-national’.
Although the filmmakers who are part of this are the regional filmmakers and absence of well known stars from the Hindi film industry shows their unwillingness in joining the campaign. There are no filmmakers from Odisha as well. Ironically many of the stars of Odia film industry are part of the BJP election campaign line up and many will fight on their behalf.
On the occasion Orissa Post asked the city filmmakers to share their views as to why the Odia film industry likes to keep way from this issue.
Filmmaker Surya Shankar Das said, “I feel that while they have named the BJP they should have named the Congress as well. By pointing out only BJP as a party that carries out hate politics is only half the picture. Congress has been equally responsible for hate crimes against Sikhs in 84 and Adivasis during Manmohan Singh regime. Such a statement that does not speak of the larger picture seems misleading. This country needs to not only oust the BJP but ensure the Congress doesn’t come back to power. For me the Congress and BJP are the same.”
About the absence of city filmmakers he said, “Our city filmmakers are known for their silence on political and social injustice within the state. They have kept quiet about the ruling party’s atrocities against Adivasi people in Kalinga Nagar, Niyamgiri and other places. So even if they were to be part of this it would have been just a token gesture.”
Director Amartya Bhattacharyya of Odia language movie ‘Khyanikaa: The Lost Idea’ said that BJP is dangerous in a certain way, other parties are dangerous in other ways. “I hate politics, and I have always boycotted my vote. I don’t think any of the political parties will help India grow. They are all the same. They just come in different names. I was approached to sign it, but I choose to stay away from politics. The thing is, I can see the problems, but just changing the party doesn’t solve problems. The entire political system needs to be destroyed and rebuilt. And I can’t see that happening. I take my stand by boycotting my vote.”
Filmmaker Swastik Choudhury said the list of filmmakers who have issued the statement include some brilliant filmmakers and artistic minds of our times. “I respect their body of work and I have known some of them personally too. While I have been critical of many policies and decisions of the present government (state or central), I have been so with the previous ones as well. It’s natural to question when things are not right and that’s what democracy is supposed to provide. And there are some genuine concerns every sensible mind has felt during the last few years. The quality of our political discourse has never stooped lower than today.”
Subrat Beura, filmmaker and secretary of Film Society Bhubaneswar, said that some of the filmmakers who were part of this had come to our film festival in past. The BJP is using the movies as a propaganda movie and is only using it to ouster their competition by framing the party such as congress as criminal in the movies such as ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ and The ‘Tashkent Files’. The state BJD is also using the city filmmakers for propaganda such as ‘Nimki’ and recently released movie ‘Biju Babu’.
Sajjan Sharma, state BJP spokesperson, said that this is the seasonal protesters and as there are few days to go for the elections, it is just a way of disrupting the process. Views of a mere 100 people does not mean it is the mandte of the population.
Arindam Ganguly, OP