By Anugraha Hadke:
Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan is widely known for raising issues through his films that can be seen as ‘testing the limits’ of freedom of expression. He is not afraid to focus on matters that might make anyone flinch, which can be seen in many of his films, starting from the very first ‘Waves Of Revolution‘ (1974), which followed the JP movement started in Bihar, to the last ‘Jai Bhim Comrade‘ (2012), that explores the lives and politics of Dalits in Mumbai.
With his film ‘Father, Son And Holy War‘, released in 1994, Patwardhan engaged in a long drawn legal battle with Doordarshan. Despite winning several awards, the state-sponsored telecaster refused to broadcast the film that delved into the history and psychology of communalism in India in light of the Babri Masjid demolition.
He recently returned his National Award to protest growing intolerance in India and penned a powerful open letter expressing his dismay and emphasising the need of eternal vigilance. 65-year-old Patwardhan has been at war with various forms of censorship, including the CBFC (central board for film certification) and right-wing groups. His website is blocked often and can then only be accessed via proxy servers. He believes that all governments are equally responsible for attacking freedom of expression, but censorship is worse in the BJP-led government.
Watch this interview as he talks about his struggle against censorship, the censor board, and the current state of “undeclared emergency” in India.