When veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah questioned the way religion is portrayed in films, many in the industry joined in the debate with their point of view. We recently caught up with actor Anupam Kher for a chat and asked him what he felt about the debate, and the 60-year-old said that Bollywood filmmakers don’t talk about religion in films because they are scared of the scrutiny.
“I understand these things are sensitive, and as artists we should respect beliefs. But then, it’s not just films, it’s everywhere – even in theatre. The freedom of expression takes a back seat when we start talking about religion,” he says, adding, “There’s fear these days. You make a film or an ad film or a stage play. Then in some corner of the country, some group stands up and starts criticising the work. Any organisation can stand up and start protesting against your film, because they claim they are hurt. But how do they even matter?" he questions.
Kher adds that because of this fear, now filmmakers are very particular about what they show. “Earlier, it didn’t matter who was playing a maulvi or a pandit in the film. People were okay with films talking about religion. Now, people have started worrying about what films will show about their religion, or who is playing whom,” he says.