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'Why actors choose not to speak up'

By SUBHASH KJHA
March 11, 2022 10:24 IST
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'You can't allow people to hijack any situation for the sake of political mileage.'
'This is what makes our actors vulnerable.'

IMAGE: Protesters shout slogans against Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali after the release of his film Padmaavat, outside a cinema hall in Patna in 2018. Photograph: PTI Photo

"I find it very strange that the government gives out a certification to a film from an organisation that is wrongly labelled the Censor Board, when the government cannot protect film-makers to whom you have given that certificate," Shabana Azmi tells Subhash K Jha.

You have always raised your voice against injustice. Why is there so little protest from within the entertainment industry on social issues?

I don't think that's true any longer.

I feel actors are speaking out more and more on social issues, whether its environment or safety of women.

The trouble is, if they comment on anything contentious, their work gets immediately affected.

This is a vulnerable situation to be in: That your film may not get released, some hoodlums may attack you.

I find it very strange that the government gives out a certification to a film from an organisation that is wrongly labelled the Censor Board, when the government cannot protect film-makers to whom you have given that certificate.

You can't allow people to hijack any situation for the sake of political mileage. This is what makes our actors vulnerable.

It is easy to say, 'Look at how Hollywood speaks up.'

It's easy for Meryl Streep to get up and speak against Donald Trump. There is no fear that she will lose a role or that a film of hers won't be released.

It's very easy to point a finger at the film industry.

When you speak, you jeopardise not only your own interests, but also a film in which many careers are at stake.

That's why actors sometimes choose not to speak up.

 

Do you see cinema as a tool of social reform?

Yes. But you can't force film-makers to consciously make cinema designed for change.

The film-maker should make the film he or she wants to.

Entertainment is also an invaluable goal for any film-maker.

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SUBHASH KJHA