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Monday , April 27, 2009 at 15 : 32

Why can't I question Modi or Manmohan


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When I made Paanch I was actually very innocent and naive. And when it got banned I asked, "How can they not allow a film like Paanch to release? What is wrong with it?"

I remember the Censor Board officials telling me that films mean healthy entertainment. I also remember them telling me, "Your film is neither healthy nor entertaining".

And that's when I started looking for answers. I read the censorship laws and I realised that it does define cinema as healthy entertainment and there are many things in it.

I started questioning things in that context. Today when I see the election campaign, the rallies and all the politicians, I realise that their whole campaign is about abusing the other party and the other individual and question their motives behind decisions. And if I want to depict the same in any of my movies, I can't. This kind of hypocrisy, this partial democracy really bothers me.

That's when I started fighting for my rights. I can't even put a simple debate like a nuclear debate on screen by taking the names of the people involved. That won't be allowed, because you can't take a real politician's name in films. In Gulal there's a dialogue to the effect of "Veer Bhoge Vasundhara". When the film went for a censor certificate, one official actually asked me, "How can you take Vasundhara Raje Scindia's name in your film?" Of course he had no idea that it's an old Rajput slogan from Rajasthan and had nothing to do with the ex-Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

Politicians can go up on stage and say anything without fear; why is it that we have to live in fear? Why is it that I can't say anything? Why is it that Narendra Modi can abuse Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh and question them; why can't I question them? The politicians are untouchables, they can do whatever they want and people like me...the aam janta we feel helpless.

The country is run from the confines of Parliament. And what do they do here? They flaunt money. They come out and give you cash for votes. Do you want such kind of people to be sitting in Parliament to decide for you?

Rs 26,000 -- that's what a minute-long session of Parliament costs. And in that time nothing happens, except the tax-payers' money is wasted. They stall sessions, they call adjournments and they throw shoes at each other. So you have to carefully choose whom do you want to represent you there.

In Parliament it also happens that some MPs don't ask questions when they are supposed to. Some of these MPs also have attendance less than 20 per cent. Imagine if you were in college and had 20 per cent attendance, would they let you sit for the exams? So if these elected representatives have less than 20 per cent attendance, why do you let them sit in Parliament? You have to stand up and choose people who ask questions, who ask about your basic needs. You should question your representative and if he's not good enough, you should have the power to throw him out.

All these political parties keep fighting with each other and are never together. However, when the suggestion to include NONE OF THE ABOVE option on the Electronic Voting Machine came up, they put up a unified front of resistance. Imagine the power you would have had if you could have voted for none of your representatives. They didn't want that because they thought that none of the above might just come into power.

And that's something to think about and ask for.

The normal excuse for people like us is, "What can I do. My vote alone is not going to change everything," but it does. If you think your vote alone can't change everything then get your neighbourhood together. Motivate mohallah groups and committees to become a part of the process. And then together sit down and decide who to vote for. Use civic reasons, reasons that will make your life better. Reasons that will provide you the things that you want. For that reason bring together the people, bring together the whole street, the gali, the mohallah. And together go out and vote. And then if the politicians do not fulfill their promise, they will know that they have to deal with a whole lot of people who are going to ask them questions and who have the power to reject them. Make sure you do that and however clichéd it may sound, but your one vote alone does count.


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More about Anurag Kashyap

Anurag Kashyap belongs to the new wave of Indian filmmakers whose subjects revolve around contemporary India and its issues. This small-town boy from Gorakhpur first came into the limelight with Black Friday, a controversial film on the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Incidentally, his directorial debut, Paanch ran into trouble with the Censor Board and is yet to see the light of the day. Known for his sensitivity and unconventional approach to filmmaking, Kashyap’s latest outing at the box-office, DevD, has earned him both popular fame and critical acclaim.
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