Nandita Das: Scary time for artistes, writers

Updated: Jan 25, 2018, 09:27 IST | Agencies

Actor-director Nandita Das feels it is a scary time for artistes and writers of the present day as a certain sense of fear prevails among them. Das was speaking at the Kolkata Literary Meet yesterday

Nandita Das and Nawazuddin Siddiqui at the Kolkata Literary Meet yesterday. Pic/PTI
Nandita Das and Nawazuddin Siddiqui at the Kolkata Literary Meet yesterday. Pic/PTI

Actor-director Nandita Das feels it is a scary time for artistes and writers of the present day as a certain sense of fear prevails among them. Das was speaking at the Kolkata Literary Meet yesterday. "There was an episode of Padmavati in the TV series, Bharat Ek Khoj, made by Shyam Benegal in 1988. We could make it then, but not now."

The filmmaker added, "I don't know if I could do a Firaaq (2008) or act in Fire (1996) today. We had our ways to disagree or agree. We don't have to like everything," she said at the session, which was attended by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has been cast as the lead for her latest film, Manto.

Noting that the artiste community now has to self-censor themselves, Das said, "Lots of these things are happening out of a certain sense of fear. Even if you say there are handful of people [protesters] but that handful seems to grow."

Referring to Saadat Hasan Manto, the writer-playwright on whose life she has written and directed the period film, Das said, "Manto must be turning in his grave." Speaking on controversies surrounding films, Siddiqui said, "My job is to act, no matter what character I get — Manto or Balasaheb Thackeray. Your political views may be different, but as an actor, you only put to use your experiences and follow the process."

Asked if he would work in a project if there are protests about portrayal of certain characters, Siddiqui said, "This is our profession, which we chose as it is our passion. But if there are objections, I will continue to do what I believe in," he said.

Violent protests spread to towns and cities in Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh a day ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat, as fringe groups opposing the film remained defiant.

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