Amit Haralkar
Govind Nihalani, filmmaker
opinion
Regressive Wave Won’t Hold
I was shocked that the statement we put out has already invited such criticism and outrage.
COMMENTS PRINT
living under modi
Thinkers in many fields on their fears of what India under Modi might be like. Why should we be worried?
Satish Padmanabhan
Interview
On the sad break with the tradition of embracing polyphonic, unorthodox ideas
Neha Bhatt
opinion
My greatest immediate fear is the attack on freedom of expression.
Nandita Das
opinion
He is a phenomenal person, but not a statesman of any kind
Ganesh N. Devy
opinion
We are getting deeper into the politics of segregation. Segre­ga­tion breeds even more seg­­­­r­e­gation.
Mahesh Dattani
opinion
The time to begin formulating answers is now. Our conscience as a nation may well depend on it.
Toorjo Ghose
opinion
I’m scared of what will happen to our shared and syncretic culture.
Swara Bhaskar
opinion
First you kill their family members, then you arrest them—the Gujarat Model.
Ram Rahman
opinion
I am more concerned about voices becoming silent out of fear, people deciding not to paint, sing or write in protest.
T.M. Krishna
opinion
What, many ask, can you expect of a man who does not even ack­nowledge his wife?
Urvashi Butalia
Opinion
The coupling of extreme religious nationalisms with private theft of the commons is potent politically
Chetan Bhatt

When a section of the Hindi film industry came together to circulate an open letter against voting in non-secular forces, of which I was a part, the idea was not to single out one individual or a party, but speak out against the current tide of politics being fought on the basis of religion. It was screenwriter Anjum Rajabali’s idea to initiate this written voice of protest, and we supported it, because we were all concerned that we were heading towards a dangerous, non-secular society.

This will, of course, affect the film industry too. In a certain sense, I feel the film world has been till now a sort of secular space, where merit and talent score above other factors. I’m yet to come across a case where a director or actor or crew member was chosen on the basis of his or her religion or political leanings. Of course, we have our own political preferences, but it doesn’t affect our professional decisions.

I fear that could change. I was shocked that the statement we put out has already invited such criticism and outrage. Those who don’t agree with us, or those who are openly supporting one or the other party and campaigning for them, are saying it has created a rift within the industry, and divided the film fraternity in two.

I’m hoping against hope that the new government doesn’t go off on the anti-min­ority tangent we all fear it will. As far as censorship in films go, we will have to wait and see if it gets worse. I don’t think the financing, casting and success of commercial cinema will stand to face any major issues under a Modi government, because that kind of cinema doesn’t work on the whims of one person or party. But indie, cause-based cinema will probably have to fight harder. After all, theirs is a fight against the prevailing system, they have to uphold a sense of social justice, and if the upcoming order turns out to be one of oppression, it will reflect on the kind of the films they will make. Will they be allowed to voice those concerns? It’s too soon to say. But I’m also hoping the government doesn’t prove to be regressive enough to put a ban on films that have already been made on the Gujarat riots. That said, if a regressive wave does indeed sweep the country and change India’s direction and its secular principles, the citizens will resist. That much I can predict with certainty.

As told to Neha Bhatt

COMMENTS PRINT
living under modi
Thinkers in many fields on their fears of what India under Modi might be like. Why should we be worried?
Satish Padmanabhan
Interview
On the sad break with the tradition of embracing polyphonic, unorthodox ideas
Neha Bhatt
opinion
My greatest immediate fear is the attack on freedom of expression.
Nandita Das
opinion
He is a phenomenal person, but not a statesman of any kind
Ganesh N. Devy
opinion
We are getting deeper into the politics of segregation. Segre­ga­tion breeds even more seg­­­­r­e­gation.
Mahesh Dattani
opinion
The time to begin formulating answers is now. Our conscience as a nation may well depend on it.
Toorjo Ghose
opinion
I’m scared of what will happen to our shared and syncretic culture.
Swara Bhaskar
opinion
First you kill their family members, then you arrest them—the Gujarat Model.
Ram Rahman
opinion
I am more concerned about voices becoming silent out of fear, people deciding not to paint, sing or write in protest.
T.M. Krishna
opinion
What, many ask, can you expect of a man who does not even ack­nowledge his wife?
Urvashi Butalia
Opinion
The coupling of extreme religious nationalisms with private theft of the commons is potent politically
Chetan Bhatt
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