mid-day editorial: Draw a line between art and politics

The ‘will-it-won’t-it’ controversy raging around Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil simply refuses to go off the front pages in these times when anti-Pakistani sentiments are at an all-time high.

With single-screen exhibitors already turning their back with just days to go before release, right-wing political parties, like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have upped their demands to stall the release, demanding that the makers have to delete all scenes of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan from the movie.

Even if just for argument’s sake one concedes that there should be a moratorium on Pakistani artists performing in India (this paper clearly believes that this should not be the case) demands like that of the MNS fly in the face of logic – simply because Johar is no clairvoyant and would have had no clue that an attack on an army base in Uri was coming when he signed up Khan for a role in his movie.

Making matters worse is news that the MAMI Film Festival, which begins on October 20, has pulled out the Pakistani film ‘Jago Hua Savera’ from its schedule following a police complaint and threats by an organisation called Sangharsh.

The film was supposed to be shown in the Restored Classics section. Just like with Johar’s film, MAMI’s schedule too must have been drawn up weeks before the terror attacks. To pull a film out now is simply not justified.

The line between art and politics should never be blurred. With absolute respect for the soldiers and those who have sacrificed their lives for the nation, all art is meant to provoke, to be uncomfortable and to set in motion our thinking and our right to disagree.

To stifle voices and close our doors simply means that we are narrowing our horizons. And if right-thinking Indians do not speak out against such demands, the loonies will be baying for a ban on Manto before you know it.

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