30 March,2023 07:00 AM IST | Mumbai | Priyanka Sharma
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bhumi Pednekar and Sudhir Mishra
Sudhir Mishra*s thought-provoking films are an extension of his opinionated self. He continues his brand of cinema with the upcoming Afwaah, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bhumi Pednekar. Through the thriller, the filmmaker explores the prevalent menace of misinformation in India today. At a time when artistes across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to express their views, fearing political backlash and social media trolling, Mishra appears to have found a clever way to convey his thoughts. He advises, "Be strategic. Sometimes, when you say things in indirect ways, they become even more powerful. As a filmmaker, if I say I am scared, what example am I setting for the younger lot?"
The filmmaker, who has given us Chameli (2004), Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2005), and Serious Men (2020) in the past, admits that the attitude towards movies has undergone a sea change. "Outside the film industry, everyone has become a censor now. [If] I say something, everyone thinks they are allowed to bash me. That is dangerous." That said, Mishra is also aware of the systemic problems that the Hindi film industry continues to breed. He points out how stories are often compromised at the convenience of their leading stars. "I find it hilarious that an industry, which changes its stories because a star said so, talks so much about censorship. It happens constantly. Some [star] says, âI don*t like this*, and [filmmakers] change [the script]. But then, they [also] complain about censorship."
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In the past few years, Bollywood has been at the receiving end of much vitriol, with the narrative being spun about how sections of the entertainment industry are âanti-national*. The director is appalled at how the movie industry*s contribution is undermined, its role sometimes villainised. "The villainisation of the industry is ridiculous. We are soft targets. [Sure], a lot of people in the business are overpaid, but 90 per cent of the people are hard-working. They do their work honestly. The film industry does good - it educates and entertains the audience for two hours. I think the country treats them badly. It is the government*s job to look after the film industry, which is a public service in my opinion."