Friday, November 13, 2015

Death threat to Girish Karnad adds fuel to growing intolerance!

With the nation burning on the topic of growing intolerance; the recent death threat to eminent actor / filmmaker and noted Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad for his earnest admiration of Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan has yet again proved that the nation is surely growing intolerant! It has also raised questions on the ‘Freedom of Speech and Expressions’ of an individual being suffocated in a democratic country like India. 

What is interesting is that before singing glory of ‘Tiger of Mysore’, Tipu Sultan, Girish Karnad was sure that his remark would spark a row. Hence addressing at the Karnataka government’s organised function to mark the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, Girish Karnad said, "I'm aware what I'm saying now will be debated.”

Comparing Tipu Sultan with other legendary rulers and freedom fighters of India, Karnad in his bold speech said, “Tipu Sultan’s contribution to Karnataka is as immense as what was Shivaji Maharaj’s contribution to Maharashtra, Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s to Bengal, or Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Uttar Pradesh. Likewise Tipu Sultan was to Karnataka.” 

Peeved at history being distorted he added, “I feel that if Tipu Sultan was a Hindu and not Muslim he would have attained the position in Karnataka that Shivaji Maharaj enjoys in Maharashtra and just as the Mumbai airport is named after Shivaji Maharaj, then Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli would have been named after Tipu Sultan instead of Kempegowda as the latter was not a freedom fighter.” 

As expected his speech did go down well with BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other right wing Hindu groups. 

Two days after the ugly controversy Girish Karnad, in an interview to a national magazine, lamented that Freedom of Expression is being suffocated today.

He mourned, “Every writer must have a right to express himself, that's all. I have not done any physical harm to anyone. A person, who likes or dislikes Tipu, has the right to celebrate him or attack him, as they like.” 

Besides death threats to Girish Karnad, the Tipu Sultan Jayanti also witnessed violence in several parts of Karnataka against the celebrations. In Madikeri, two people also died in violent clashes. 

I hope Mr. Arun Jaitley and his like in the BJP would now at least not asset - "Where is intolerance? And make comments like “This country has never been and will never be intolerant."

Salman Khan’s PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO gets Thumps - Up from film buffs and critics alike

Salman Khan and Sooraj Barjatya’s Jodi is known for breaking box office records. Remember MAINE PYAR KIYA, (1989); HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN..! (1994); HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN (1999). Hence when the Jodi came together after 16 years in PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO (2015) there was lot of expectations but as expected yet again the duo have done a great work as the movie has been declared a hit by both the film buffs and the critics alike. 

According to latest reports the opening day collection of the movie has got a bumper opening not only in India but at the overseas box office as well. 

Trade pundits claim that the movie has overshadowed Salman Khan’s previous hits films like KICK and BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. And that not all the movie has also moved ahead of the other two Khan i.e. Shah Rukh Khan’s HAPPY NEW YEAR and Aamir Khan’s PK. The movie registered more than 90% occupancy in several theatres in India on the first day morning shows and increased to 100% percent as the day progressed.

Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures Ltd, said, “The movie has done excellent business due to several factors like it has no competition as it is a solo release. Secondly it is appealing to the family audience as it is a clean film and parents are flocking cinema halls with their children and relatives on occasion of festival season. And lastly but not the least the hiked ticket rates have played a key difference in making PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO stay ahead of HAPPY NEW YEAR and PK.” 

Manoj Desai, exhibitor and executive director of Mumbai’s chain of cinema halls said, “PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO has opened to good response. All shows are houseful and even the advance booking for the weekend is very strong."

He added, “The film may prove a bigger hit than SRK HAPPY NEW YEAR because it has higher number of screen count compared to HAPPY NEW YEAR that released last year on Diwali. The movie has been released in over 4,500 screens in India and over 1,100 screens in the international market.” 

As regards film critics the movie has fetched 3.5 rating from many top notch film critics of India, who have termed it as an excellent family entertainer reviewing the good old tradition of Rajshri films.