Do we need a film censor was an important question we ought to seek answer to at this present time where film makers are being targeted for expressing their ideas through their films.
Sanalkumar was supposed to start the session but he was already out of words and that’s when Prakash Raj cut in and said “It’s very difficult for a victim to talk.” The audience broke into a fit of laughter.
Sanalkumar then began by saying “We are on the same page, me as a film maker and you as a privileged actor, an artist having an opinion and the opinion being the same, when we are in conversation we do not have a conflict. If the conversation is without a conflict then I don’t know how it will go.”
“Very rarely do actors come out with an opinion. After the murder of Gauri Lankesh you came out openly against the rise of fascism and the majority attitude of india. Also there is a clear movement against censorship. So do you have a clear political intention?”
To this Prakash Raj started- There are 10 questions in this. When we say about actors, there are two kinds of actors in this country. Actor who speaks others lines and actors who speak his lines. I speak my own lines. Crowd support, popularity ect makes people alert and I think my younger generation is coming to realize that and move on.”
And about censor board issue he pointed out with a base line “ when there is a dictatorship in the society censorship is used. In democracy its manipulated. So we should think should we need censorship”.
He then explained how censor really works in India. There is a regional censor and a Central sensor. There are some officersthat work behind and then around 30-40 people from different walks of life who have nothing to do will be selected to view the films. No payment, no money, nothing to decide what their background. Someone who is senior in the industry is viewing the film and they have no clue what the film is. In short there is no censor board as such.
He then takes example of Sanalkumar Sasidharan’s controversial film ‘Sexy Durga’.
“People don’t have a problem with durga wines, durga mutton shop, durga disco bar. They did not see the film and they just decide it’s innapropriate. But at the same time they are not worried about a wife called Durga who is abused by her husband, a girl called Durga who is raped.
Sanalkumar then pointed out how we are ruled my north mentality to which he replied “there is no North Indian or South Indian, we are ruled by human beings.”
In between the session when a question rised whether the majority was opposing censorship,half the audience raised their hands up. And Sanalkumar said this is the situation. The majority is not in favour of it to which Prakash Raj said, is majority is what is taken into consideration then crow should be the national bird and not peacock, cows should be the national animal and not tiger. So it’s never about the majority.
He stated “I don’t want to be a political leader. I want to be a fearless citizen”.
To every political party, before they give their manifesto we should give them ours. We don’t want the crowd to raise their voice, they just have to whisper. It is not important to be loud but to talk among themselves.
Prakash Raj spoke in his usual witty style. He mentioned how the newspapers headlines their news these days. What kind of language do they use. Spreading hatered around it. He strongly says we should empower the youngsters. What we fear the most is freedom. And this fear should be taken away. His words were quite motivational and made us think a lot and even empowered us to state our point. He had a very rational opinion about censorship.
The panelists insisted that they have an interactive session because he wanted the audience to talk to him.
In short this was one of a kind session which was looked upon eagerly on the second day of Kerala Literature Festival.