Never in the past has the film fraternity reacted so sharply towards the growing intolerance in the country as in the present scenario. Be it the communal tension of the Sikh Riots in 1984, the Bhagalpur Riots in 1989, the Mumbai Riots 1992 after Babri Masjid demolition, the Gujarat Riots in 2002 post Godhra violence or the Muzaffarnagar Riots 2013.
It is only in the past few weeks that the film fraternity has joined the bandwagon of writers, scientists and historians, who are returning their awards, protesting against the bitter intolerance growing in the country. It began with KHOSLA KA GHOSLA director Dibakar Banerjee and 11 other returning their national awards and has taken centre stage with bigger celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Kamal Haasan expressing their support.
While Shah Rukh Khan has openly acknowledged that there is extreme intolerance in country, South superstar Kamal Haasan believes that intolerance has been a part and parcel of India since India won freedom.
Speaking at a press conference in Hyderabad, where he was promoting his forthcoming film action thriller CHEEKATI RAJYAM (THOONGAVANAM in Tamil) he said, “I think that the country has been undergoing intolerance since independence. As a filmmaker I have faced the worst intolerance during the release of my movies HEY RAM and VISHWAROOPAM. But still I feel returning awards in not the best option.”
“I think the best option to pressurize the government to curb intolerance could be writers and filmmakers, instead of returning the awards, must keep their awards and continue the crusade against intolerance,” he added.
True indeed because if writers and filmmakers unite together and both pledge on wiping intolerance from the land than they can surely be more effective than the trend of returning awards.
Remember after the lethal separation of India and Pakistan in 1947 intolerance was at its peak but it was thanks to writers and filmmakers who made movies on harmony like PADOSI, DHARAMPUTRA, GARAM HAWA that brought brotherhood and communal harmony in the country.
Later after the unfortunate Babri Masjid tension it was again films like KRANTIVEER, ZAKHM, and HEY RAM etc that did the difference.
Hence Kamal Haasan’s mantra of curbing intolerance is laudable. Hope it is understood by our intellectual writers and filmmakers!!!