Cinema has become an escape parlour: Mahesh Bhatt | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Cinema has become an escape parlour: Mahesh Bhatt

Turn back the clock and you will find that rape scenes used to feature in Bollywood films quite regularly. But since the early ’90s, they have largely been avoided by modern-day filmmakers.

bollywood Updated: Aug 24, 2013 16:10 IST
Dibyojyoti Baksi

Speaking to Dibyojyoti Baksi (HT Cafe), filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt expresses his views on wether cinema is responsible for rising crime in our society.

Mahesh Bhatt says:
Rape cannot be condoned; it should be treated with seriousness and urgency and treated very firmly, because a society that cannot make women, children and its weak people safe is not a stable society. We have now started believing that cinema is a feel-good medium and unpleasant emotions are not something that people find that they want to consume.

Now movies are fairy tales that take place in la-la land, which has nothing to do with reality. You make sure that the grim realities of the society do not cast a dark shadow on your film. Society has changed. Earlier, there were fewer media; the 24-hour electronic media wasn’t there. Today, there are 24-hour news channels catering to the need of showing painful realities on TV. Cinema has become Disneyland and an escape or leisure parlour, so that’s why it’s not a place where people go to consume blunt and hard truths.

Turn back the clock and you will find that rape scenes used to feature in Bollywood films quite regularly. But since the early ’90s, they have largely been avoided by modern-day filmmakers.

Mahesh Bhatt and director Sanjay Gupta, who have opposing views on the subject, about why filmmakers have started staying away from such sequences.

The kind of stories we are taking up in Bollywood don’t require such scenes: Sanjay Gupta (As told to Prashant Singh)

Speaking to Prashant Singh (HT Cafe), filmmaker Sanjay Gupta expresses his views on wether cinema is responsible for rising crime in our society.

Sanjay Gupta says:
Over the past few years, filmmakers’ sensibilities have undergone a complete change. People have become more educated and aware of such things (rape) in real life. Also, they (rape scenes) are always in bad taste, especially when a large number of today’s audience comprises young women. Plus, today, films are being made for a global audience — from NRIs to smaller centres’ fans- so we have to cater to everyone’s tastes. And you can’t deny the fact that it (a rape sequence) does make one, especially female audiences, uncomfortable. Not just that, 80 per cent of today’s audiences are young people and they are well aware of what is being shown in films.

The kind of stories we are taking up in Bollywood don’t really require such scenes. And you can’t simply force them in without any reason or justification. My last film Shootout At Wadala had a rape-like scene but that’s something that happened in history. Otherwise, as filmmakers, we don’t put anything forcibly in storylines. So if such scenes aren’t needed, there’s no question that they will find their way into films.

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