Dictators first attack the artist then citizens'

One should not see this as the fight of a single artist.

One should not see this as the fight of a single artist. I do not have a problem in screening the film Sexy Durga (known S Durga). It was censored and it’s got the permission to be screened for an audience. It is the responsibility of the government to support the screenings. If I want to screen it, I should be able to. And if someone is trying to prevent it, the government should take action against that person and not vice-versa.

But now they have kicked over the laws, shown scant regard to court verdicts because of the prejudice against a few films. It is not the artist’s issue. It is a citizen’s rights issue. Why do we vote? Why do we take pride as a citizen? Why do we pay our taxes? The government too has some responsibility towards its citizens. It has to support us and help us to enforce our rights, given to us by the Constitution. But here, the government is prejudiced against an artist’s work. That’s why I went to the court.

It is not a problem of artistic freedom. The (Kerala) high court heard both the sides and gave a verdict in my favour. It is the duty of the government to implement the verdict. But it is not doing that and completely disregarding the judicial system. I knew that the film would be politicised when it is not in the interests of the government. That’s how it has happened across the world – be it China, or North Korea or Russia. When a government starts showing dictatorship tendencies, it first attacks the artists. And then the citizens. Whatever they do not like become their enemies. They will not encourage anything that goes against their interest. Not allowing these film screenings is an indication of where this country is going to.

People see this is as a simple issue of a filmmaker not being able to screen his movie at the Goa film festival. This is not about taking my film to IFFI. I make films to show people all over the world. I haven’t taken my previous two films to IFFI. But this issue is much bigger than that. The jury had selected the film and the jury head resigned when two films were dropped by the ministry from the final list. An open letter was shot off to the government. But even after the court verdict, the government is not ready to comply. That is a terrifying situation. It is not an issue of a film. It can happen in other cases. Where do you go to then? It will be the end of democracy.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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