Director Vinod Kapri, whose Hindi film Pihu opened the controversy-hit Indian Panorama segment at IFFI 2017, came out in support of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, saying his biggest worry is that “fringe” sections are becoming the mainstream now.
The release date of Bhansali’s period drama Padmavati has been deferred following country-wide protests by Rajput groups and politicians, who have accused Bhansali of “distorting historical facts”.
Many groups have been protesting amid rumours that there was a romantic dream sequence between Rajput queen Padmini and Allauddin Khilji, a charge repeatedly denied by the director. Kapri said what is happening to Bhansali is scary.
“What is happening with Padmavati is really unfortunate. My biggest worry is that fringe elements are becoming mainstream.
“Earlier, there were two or three groups or outfits who were disturbing our cinema or filmmakers. I am scared as a filmmaker because whatever happened to Bhansali can happen to anyone,” Kapri told PTI on the sidelines of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
The director, whose film Pihu replaced the opening film Nude (Marathi) in the Panorama section, said he was not the right person to comment on the controversy.
“I don’t know what to say (on the controversy) as I was not a part of the jury. I don’t know what conspires between the jury and the ministry. I feel I am not the right person to comment,” he said.
In a controversial move, the I&B ministry overruled the 13-member jury’s recommendation and excluded Nude and S Durga from the line-up of the Indian Panorama segment.
The exclusion led to the resignation of jury chairman Sujoy Ghosh and members Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa.
S Durga director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan had moved the Kerala High Court challenging the decision. On 21 November, the court ordered the ministry to screen the Malayalam movie at the ongoing festival.
When asked about the HC’s decision, Kapri said, “High Court has allowed the film (S Durga) to be screened. I believe every filmmaker has the right to show his film to the audience or in a festival. My heart goes out to the directors of Nude and S Durga. But at the same time we are here with Pihu and we are celebrating Pihu.”