Even as there is a biopic on prime minister Narendra Modi ready for release, a group of award-winning filmmakers from across the country have stepped up to oppose the re-election of the majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the upcoming general elections.
In a statement put out on the website, www.artistuniteindia.com, the filmmakers have stated the ‘unrelenting onslaught on the cultural and scientific institutions in the country’ as a reason for their statement. The list includes National award -winning filmmakers Anand Patwardhan, Vetrimaaran, Devashish Makhija, Kabir Singh Chaudhary, and vice-chairperson of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy Bina Paul, among others.
The statement published on the website reads: ‘Our country is going through the most testing times ever. Though culturally vivid and geographically diverse, we have always stayed united. As a nation. It has indeed been a great feeling to be a citizen of this wonderful country.But all that is at stake now. Fascism threatens to strike us hard with all its might if we don’t choose wisely in the coming Lok Sabha election. Period.”
Titled ‘Save Democracy’, the statement targets the growing victimisation of artistes, writers, and speakers under the guise of ‘nationalism’ and patriotism. “Besides, the BJP and its allies have failed miserably in keeping their election promises. They are now using mob lynching and cow vigilantism to split the country communally. Marginalizing Dalits and Muslims is the name of the game. They are spreading their hate campaigns with the help of the internet and social media. Patriotism is their trump card. Any individual or institution that raises the slightest dissent is labeled ‘anti-national’. ‘Patriotism’ is how they grow their vote bank. Let us not forget that some of our eminent writers and media persons lost their lives because they dared to dissent,” it reads.
The filmmakers also pointed out at the recent invocations of the army and defence politics by the ruling party as one of the reasons for his oppositions, along with the banning of ‘cinema and books’.
Among the filmmakers listed, Patwardhan, Sanal Sasidharan, Leena Manimekalai, Q and Santosh Babusenan have suffered severe censorship over their films.
The signatories conclude by saying: “We urge all of you to do everything in your capacity to keep this harmful regime from coming back to power. Let your mandate be to choose a government that respects the Constitution of India, protects our freedom of speech and expression, and refrains from all kinds of censorship. Yes, This is our last chance!”