Mithilesh Tripathi, the convenor of art and culture cell of BJP has already dropped a bomb on Bollywood. In a statement when announcing that the cell will be exclusively setting up a wing to promote films themed on Indian tradition, he brushed off many recent releases as something that deviates from portraying Indian culture.
Problem of definition
While his choice of movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge as a shining example of something that upholds Indian culture is highly debatable, the bigger question is, what are the parameters of this so-called ‘Indian culture?’
If what could be a casual statement by Mr Tripathi truly reflects the cell’s outlook towards the content of films, there seems like a danger of further curtailment of freedom for movie scripts, in a scenario where the industry is already reeling under too many restrictions from various bodies.
Struggling to cope
For the last few years, the industry has already been struggling to cope up with innumerable PILs and call for bans by one or the other ‘sensitive’ segment of the society, even after getting clearance from the Censor Board.
While a select few go on with their choice of content hoping to brave the protests as and when they come, most film makers, to avoid trouble at a later stage, are being extra careful during the scripting stage itself. This, at the risk of sacrificing on the quality of the stories.
Further diktats by the culture cell of the government will only make things worse, as there is no saying what could offend who in the name of ‘Indian culture and Indian tradition.’
Just when the film industry is slowly evolving by taking on bolder and more open themes and finding audiences too, especially in the indie category, one can only hope the cell’s intervention won’t mean having to take a step back.