At the FICCI Frames meet in Mumbai on Monday, during a Q&A with director Karan Johar, the Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani was asked by Karan why the film industry was made a soft target for attacks.
To this, Smriti reacted, “Now that you recognise me as an insider, put your hand to your heart and tell me, how many of us manufacture that outrage because we don’t have a film which is that good? We are all in the business of it — it’s the best-kept secret which is just out there. Nobody wants to talk about it.”
Filmmaker and industry spokesperson Ashoke Pandit has not taken the comments well. He says, “It is tragic that such an incriminating remark should come from someone who has been part of the Indian entertainment industry for years. When she says that filmmakers manufacture controversies, which filmmakers and films is she talking about? Abhishek Choubey’s Udta Punjab, Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat? Does she think these films needed to manufacture outrage to get noticed? She should know that it’s not controversy but content that works. Smiriti’s serial, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi ran for seven years not because of the controversies, but the content.”
Ashoke feels saddened by Smriti’s insinuations. He rants, “The industry sells entertainment and not their souls. You can’t point fingers when you never offer a shoulder to support.”