Mahesh Bhatt says artistes today resorting to pre-censorship

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Mumbai: Mahesh Bhatt says Indian constitution may have given people the right to freedom of expression but in the current era, filmmakers and writers are resorting to pre-censorship

Bhatt, who was attending the trailer launch of “No Fathers in Kashmir which features his wife Soni Razdan, said it saddens him that the film had to face difficultly in getting clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

“There is a climate of pre-censorship that a filmmaker and writer thinks ten times before he puts pen to paper on what he should be writing, whether the CBFC will allow it to pass or not… This is a country born out of love for free speech and freedom of expression is a constitutional right,” the filmmaker said.

Bhatt added that he stood by director Ashvin Kumar as he believed in his vision.

“It is a tragedy that the director had to run from pillar to post. What are we trying to do? In this age and time, is there anything called censorship? What is this picture saying? He had the audacity to look at the truth.”

“It is a staggering, heart-wrenching film. Ashvin has the guts to embrace all that darkness and then having done that bring us so much ‘light’. In these dark times of hate, here is a love story from the blood-soaked Valley of Kashmir which has the audacity to hope.”

Bhatt said any society that strangles a storyteller is at “great risk” as it is through them the truth comes out.

“There are two kinds of films; one that create illusions for you and that is what the dream factory is, that is what the major bulk of Bollywood cinema is. There are certain films that choke you and say ‘Look at this world’. The stories that Ashvin has brought out are from the people he has interacted with. The right of a filmmaker is sacred, they are the windows through which people view the reality,” he said.

Asked if Bollywood cosying up to the government will bring about a change, the director said people need to stop looking up to the administration.

“It is not the government that runs a country but it is the people who run the country. We must stop looking at people to guide us and lead our lives the way we think. We should do so provided we don’t violate the fundamentals,” Bhatt said.

The film releases on April 5.

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