Karni Sena, You Need To Get Your Facts Right!

Posted by Gulraj Bedi in Culture-Vulture, Politics
February 4, 2017

Film-making is rightly considered as one of the profession that allow people the widest creative ability. A director puts their creativity to use in an attempt to create a world of his own. A film-maker takes all sorts of cinematic liberties (they’re bound to). Historical depictions are subjected to a considerable amount of distortion. Distorting history can prove extremely fatal. The recent attack on director Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes as a wake-up call to the harsh reality that Hindu extremism is no longer a myth.

Bhansali was slapped and beaten by the members of the Karni Sena while he was working on the sets of his upcoming film Padmavati, starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. Bhansali was attacked in front of his crew and security personnel. Karni Sena is a group of hardcore Hindu radicals(well, it would be right to call them radical after the attack). The situation slipped out of hands and the security personnel were forced to fire in the air in order to disperse the goons.

The fact is that Bollywood celebs have become a soft target for religious fundamentalists all across the country. Bhansali was apparently attacked because the film contains a dream sequence, in which, Allauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) and Rani Padmavati (Deepika) are shown romancing. The fictional reconstruction of the largely inadequate historical records is quite obvious.The fact of the matter is, without a reasonable degree of creativity and imagination, historical biopics can’t be created.

Another thing which is quite obvious is that the assaulters, who have a problem with an incomplete, unreleased movie,were angry over an imagined dream sequence showcasing inter-religious romance. (What a pity).

Poster of Jodha Akbar, a historical biopic with fictional insterludesFilms such as Jodha Akbar, Mohenjodaro and Bajirao Mastani were largely fictional accounts of history. The creative fraternity has become an easy target, along with writers and journalists in contemporary India.  The attack on Bhansali was aimed at licensing and normalizing violence through various online and offline modes. It was aimed at instilling permanent fear among the members of the creative fraternity.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time such an incident has happened. Mahira Khan, the Pakistani actress, wasn’t allowed to be a part of the promotions of “Raees”. Furthermore, filmmaker Karan Johar was forced to pay a ransom of 5 crore just because Pakistani actor Fawad Khan was a part of his directorial venture “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. Bollywood’s Mr. Perfectionist, Aamir Khan too, came under immense scrutiny for airing his wife Kiran Rao’s opinions on intolerance.

Needless to say, It’s easier for people to complain. The attack on Bhansali says that the “Senas” are completely unafraid of the law. The reason for their fearlessness  is strong enough for them to beat renowned filmmakers in a clearly organised manner.

It seems  that people are far more scared of a figment of someone’s imagination than they are of reality. Indian history has been an epitome of secular thinking. Real history is made up of numerous intertwined threads which have helped produce some breathtaking architecture, art and music.

The fact that the attackers hadn’t even read the script, but had heard of a possible dream sequence between the lead pair is speaking volumes. It brings to light the fact that rumour mongering and hearsay have become a means of spreading instant fear .

Art is bound to lose its relevance if it is confined by boundaries. It’s quite disheartening to see that in the name of patriotism, we aim to confine imagination,art and culture that’s abstract.