'Bollywood Can’t Afford to Antagonise the Government’: Malayalam Filmmaker Sanal Sasidharan

'Bollywood Can’t Afford to Antagonise the Government’: Malayalam Filmmaker Sanal Sasidharan

Sanal Sasidharan, director of ‘Sexy Durga’ on why he wrote a petition to not vote for the Modi government and why Bollywood is silent
'Bollywood Can’t Afford to Antagonise the Government’: Malayalam Filmmaker Sanal Sasidharan
Sanal Sasidharan

Sanal Sasidharan, the acclaimed Malayalam director of Sexy Durga, initiated an online petition signed by 103 filmmakers to not vote the Narendra Modi government back to power. In a conversation with this writer, Sasidharan expressed the urgent need to take precautionary steps to curb the growing intolerance in the country. “It’s not about me or my freedom. Far graver issues are at stake. Today anyone who speaks up against the Government is branded an enemy of the nation. We must take steps to restore democracy, and not be bothered about our own personal freedom.”
Sasidharan, whose film last year Sexy Durga was clamped down on, says the issue is far beyond one of personal freedom. “I am aware of the risk to my life for petitioning along with other filmmakers against the Government. But the issue is not me or my freedom. It is a far larger problem. And if we don’t address it now, we would lose something far bigger than our personal freedom.”
Significantly, there is not a single filmmaker from Bollywood who has signed Sasidharan’s petition. There are names like Anand Patwardhan and Deepa Dhanraj on the  petition. Sasidharan says there is too much at stake in  Bollywood. “They can’t afford to antagonize  the  government. There are big budgets, huge financial resources involved. It is far more convenient to remain quiet than to speak up. But still I am hoping that at least a few directors from Hindi cinema would come forward to support our endeavour to save democracy.”
In this context Sasidharan describes the forthcoming Narendra Modi bio-pic as a blatant violation of the electoral code. “To release a glowing propaganda film to coincide with the Lok Sabha elections is blatantly unconstitutional. Even if the BJP government has nothing to do with the film, it should not be released now.”

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