After the ban on “Aarakshan” in Uttar Pradesh was revoked, director Prakash Jha has decided to make a film on creative freedom and the efforts to muzzle the artiste through extra-constutitional means.
His experience of battling various organisations and a state government for the release of “Aarakshan”, about the issue of reservations in educatinal insititutes, has inspired a script on the subject.
“Why are we filmmakers constantly subjected to efforts to stifle our voices? I was provoked enough to go to the Supreme Court. A lot of filmmakers just succumb to pressure and make whatever adjustments are required of them. We shouldn’t allow this to happen,” said Jha.
The Supreme Court’s decision to lift the ban imposed on “Aarakshan” is historic, according to Jha. However, there is no sense of triumph in the victory, since the failure to release the film in Uttar Pradesh together with other states Aug 12 resulted in huge losses.
Said Jha: “Even this Friday on August 19 after the court’s verdict there was no way we could release the film. We opened all over UP (Uttar Pradesh) only on Saturday morning to full houses in Varanasi and other places. But at what cost? The film’s collections suffered a big dent because of the ban. Why must we suffer this kind of humiliating authoritarianism?”
The director, however, is happy he fought the ban.
“There’s a lesson here for all filmmakers. We should not buckle under pressure. My film is not the first to face hurdles from state governments after being censored by the central board of certification. The film industry needs to collectively fight pressures from the outside,” he said.