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Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: People who have fear of expression will never express

Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says it’s not true when filmmakers say that they cannot express themselves in today’s times.

bollywood Updated: Jun 02, 2018 20:04 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra,Freedom of speech,Delhi
Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was recently in Delhi to speak at the 13th Habitat Film Festival.

Artistic freedom in Indian cinema has been a topic of discussion since forever, and films frequently get embroiled in a controversy for hurting sentiments of some group or the other. However, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says that it’s not true if film directors say that they are unable to express themselves.

“I don’t want to take big words… freedom of speech. Hum ye sab bolte hain, especially TV channels pe chilla chilla ke bolte hain. Shayad hum iska [matlab nahi samajhte] (We scream these words on TV channels, but I don’t think we understand their meaning). So, I don’t want to use those words. Not out of any fear or anything [but because] I don’t want to be misinterpreted. I think it’s something very important, we need to address as a nation. I totally disagree that we cannot express ourselves in today’s times… then when will you express yourself? (sic)” says the filmmaker, who was recently in the Capital to attend a film festival.

READ | You need stupidity, foolishness to make cinema: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Mehra, who has never shied away from questioning sensitive issues such as political corruption in Rang De Basanti (2006) or religious intolerance in Dilli-6 (2009), says that he never felt that he can’t express himself freely in the present times.

“Tell me one time in the history of human beings when the times were right. Start from Mahabharata... uss mein bhi sab gadbad ho raha tha, abhi bhi hai (There was disorder in those times as well, and so it is even now) Those are conflicts of life, clashes of ideologies; it’s a belief system. Sometimes religion plays a part. For the longest time, religion has played a card in Turkey — it was the centre of crusades. But Rumi expressed himself. From a maulana he became a poet. There are people who will keep expressing. I don’t think there’s any fear of expression. People who have fear of expression will not express,” he opines.

READ | When Mirzya didn’t work, I spoke with every member of the unit: Rakeysh Mehra

Mehra, who is currently working on his next film Mere Pyare Prime Minister, set for an October release, adds that filmmakers need to be responsible towards what they show through their work.

“You can’t take freedom of speech and creative liberties too far unnecessarily because you are going to influence millions of people. If you want to influence them, influence them in the right way, with love. Also, humare yahan itne gaon hain... each individual you see here has wounds of their own. Should I be scratching the wounds or should I be providing balm for them? I made a choice — I’ll provide balm for them. However, you cannot ignore the wound. [You have to] talk about the wound, but I feel life is too short for hate. We should just love each other,” he adds.

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First Published: Jun 02, 2018 20:04 IST