The history of Indian cinema is marred at regular intervals, with protests being held against the release and screening of films, which were feared to hurt sentiments, religious or otherwise. In the recent past, two movies faced the same fate. First is the Hindi movie ‘Padmavati’ based on the legend of queen Padmini, who chose to immolate herself instead of getting captured by Allauddin Khilji. And second is the Marathi film ‘Dashakriya’ which has won three national awards and 11 state awards.

The release of both the films is being resisted by certain communities, because they believe that these films will present historical facts and religious customs wrongly, hence they will hurt people’s sentiment. Interestingly, both these protests are merely based on rumours and trailers of the films.

Also Read: Show Padmavati Before Release Or We Will Burn Theatres: Karni Sena

Seldom do Trailers Give us the Entire Picture

It is a fact that there have been movies in the past, which have targeted certain communities or castes in their subjects. Facts have been distorted, history has been twisted.  The people belonging to these communities do have the right to stand up against such portrayal and state their point of view as well.

Movies should not be used as a medium to settle religious or caste-based scores. They only further deepen the rift, doing more harm than good to the delicate balance between the community. But then, communities should also not base their protests purely on rumours surrounding the film’s content or its trailer.

A trailer usually concentrates on the highlights of a film. It includes the best engagements the film has to offer. Be it breathtaking cinematography, chart-busting songs, or controversial dialogues and thrilling plot points. They keep the audience hooked and make sure that they turn up at the theatre to watch the film. But if we have learned anything from such trailers, is the fact that seldom do trailers give us the entire picture. No producer or director will reveal the entire story in the trailer. They will want to keep some aces hidden up their sleeves. Therefore, it seems short-sighted to protest a movie without watching it.

Rationality isn’t One of Our Strong Points

Director/producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali had to bear damages to his sets. He issued a public statement, literally pleading the audience to first watch his work and then judge it. The producers of ‘Dashkriya’ also offered to hold screenings of the movie for the offended community. But rationality isn’t one of our strong points, sadly. We would rather explode on Twitter, break in and destroy theatres and organise protests, rather than watch the movie, access its content, and then file a petition in court to cut out a few scenes or ban the screening of the movie, if it still offends us. Because where is the fun in that!

What protesters don’t realize, is that they create a high buzz around such films, with all their humdrum.

These films go on to do great business at the box office. People turn up to watch such films in huge number. Just to find out why the hell have people have been screaming out of their wits to stop their screening. So in the end, the makers make tons of money, the film attracts more audience than it might initially have. Thus, nullifying the entire point of the protest.

Pic Credit: India Today

Also Read: Protesters Vandalise Padmavati Set, Rough Up Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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