Bollywood director Vivek Agnihotri is undaunted in spite of facing protesters at Jadavpur University before the screening of his political drama, Buddha in a Traffic Jam , which revolves around corruption and Maoism in a business school.
Known for films such as Hate Story and Goal, Agnihotri was greeted with black flags, slogans and placards telling him to leave when he reached the university on Friday. He claimed he was manhandled and gheraoed by some students; a window pane of his car was left shattered in the commotion. But the director has refused to back down.
In a series of tweets from Friday night through Saturday morning, Agnihotri challenged his attackers, saying they could come at him and break his car but they wouldn’t be able to break his spirit.
Attack me. Break my car. How will you break my spirit? #BuddhaAtJU— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 6, 2016
He further added that the students didn’t like his film as it ‘exposed them’.
Agnihotri also tweeted about the attacks on him, seeking help.
Massive protest against me and the film. They are breaking the car apart. Help needed. pic.twitter.com/Q6lwWRvZG9— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 6, 2016
The registrar came and stopped the peaceful screening of #BuddhaInATrafficJam massive chaos and sloganeering.— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 6, 2016
Mayhem at Jadavpur Univ due to a small film. Broke my shoulder. But screened the film. Victory of FoE.— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 6, 2016
Only they don't have a right to break my car and shoulder. Also registrar doesn't have a right to stop midway. https://t.co/KM96EQ0Pst— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 6, 2016
By Saturday morning, he said reports in media will be biased ‘half-truth’.
Good morning from Kolkata. I am alive. It's been a long time since I saw such violence. What you'll hear in media is all half truth.— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 7, 2016
The commotion at the university occurred when producers put up the film screening in an open-air space on campus after the alumni association cancelled their booking of the Triguna Sen auditorium, the original venue.
The producers claimed they had support from a group of students. “The students arranged a bed-sheet and turned it into a screen to see my film. Many watched it and realised it’s not what they were thinking. It is a realistic film,” Agnihotri told PTI.
Protests continued through the screening , with protesters saying their issue was with the film’s “divisive content”.
Buddha in a Traffic Jam is inspired from Agnihotri’s life, and stars Anupam Kher, Mahie Gill, Aanchal Dwivedi, Pallavi Joshi, Arunoday Singh and Vivek Vaswani.
“We all know (Anupam) Kher’s views in the whole debate on whatever happened in JNU. He is acting in this film which has divisive content. We are protesting against that,” said Sounak Mukherjee, a first year MA student of English department.
Watch Buddha In A Traffic Jam
Meanwhile, the university administration filed a police complaint against four people – three Akhil Bhartiya Vishwa Parishad activists – for allegedly molesting female students during the protests.
(With PTI inputs )
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