Killers of creativity #Censorsip #FOE


Aranyani Bhargav, The Hindu

Mallika Sarabhai Photo:Thulasi Kakkat

Mallika Sarabhai Photo:Thulasi Kakkat

Dance appears to have escaped censorship, but a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a performance licence

Despite what romantics might say, it is not easy to be creative. Creativity is not simply something some people are born with and some aren’t. Creativity is cultivated over many years of training, learning, and experiencing. In other words, it is not an easy task to create something good and meaningful even in the best of circumstances. However, the best of circumstances don’t always present themselves at opportune or frequent moments in time. In fact, many an artist will tell you that the revelations regarding a creative piece of work came at a decidedly inopportune or inconvenient moment!

Moreover, there are certain factors in the art world that make the creation of dance (and indeed other forms of art) even more difficult. One is undoubtedly the lack of inspiration. Inspiration can be thwarted by internal factors such as emotional distress or laziness to actually do the hard work that creativity requires, or to go out there and get exposed to other people’s work – in order to draw inspiration from it. Inspiration can equally be diminished by external factors such as the apparent celebration of mediocrity, which may cause disheartening and discouragement; a lack of guidance in the form of a mentor, teacher or colleagues; and the economic factor – which in many ways limits creativity.

Let me explain this further. Money, I think, is the second factor worth mentioning that kills creativity. Of course, this is not unconditionally true. An art-funding body that approves funding for a choreographer’s work can be of immeasurable help to the choreographer because it helps him or her to be able to focus only on creating the work, rather than searching for funding. But there is a flipside to this as well. Work that is commissioned often has restrictions imposed on it by the organization that commissions it. Funds are released on the condition that content, concept, vocabulary and so on – will be determined and restricted – not by the choreographer, but by the person or organization funding the work. In that sense, it does kill creativity.

Restrictions are imposed in other ways too, and this particular one seems obvious as a killer of creativity – censorship. Of course, like all of the above factors, this one is also not an absolute evil. Censorship exists in an ideal world for good and important reasons. But sometimes, it does contribute to the bloodless murder of creative potential.

Censorship doesn’t happen in the world of dance very publicly as it does in some other spheres of art – Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vishwaroopam’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ are quite openly censored by society. Dance appears to have escaped that censorship but perhaps that is only the case because the world of dance is less in the public eye than Haasan or Rushdie. Censorship does occasionally threaten to kill creativity amongst dancers. Mallika Sarabhai, a dancer and activist in Gujarat, has faced ‘censorship’ of sorts for having viewpoints that didn’t fit well with people in power. On a more ‘aam aadmi’ level, the police now imposes restrictions on dancers who wish to perform publicly. Of course, the banning of live music (which had a profoundly devastating impact on local musicians and bands) in Bangalore as well as the banning of dancing in pubs has caught quite a lot of media attention a few years ago. But even for ‘serious performers of dance’ in India, a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a ‘performance licence’. Amongst several things that the performer has to agree not to do, the vague statements could potentially restrict the freedom of any kind of creative expression – the performance must not have “any impropriety of language”, “indecency of dress, dance, movement or gesture”, or “anything likely to excite feelings of sedition or political discontent”. The basis on which impropriety or indecency, or in fact, the expression of political discontent is to be measured is not mentioned anywhere, potentially limiting the creative freedom of a dancer to speak, dance, or dress a certain way.

So, when the best of circumstances do not present themselves to a creative person, these killers of creativity make the creation of art an even more difficult task than it was to begin with.

 

Kamal Haasan- If there is no secural state, I will leave the country #Vishwaroopam #FOE #Censorship


Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan

Twelve hours was enough for veteran actor Kamal Haasan to lose all hope (or whatever was left of it) in India’s political structures. Last night, the Madras High Court had lifted the ban by the Tamil Nadu government on Hassan’s film Vishwaroopam. However, in the morning, police halted screening across Chennai.

Frustrated and fed up, Haasan held a press conference in Chennai this morning where he said, “If there is no secular state in India, I would go overseas. I think Tamil Nadu wants me out.”

There was a depressing sense of déjà vu both for the citizens of this country and Kamal Haasan when he recalled M F Husain’s exit from the country after the painter’s freedom of experssion was trampled upon. Certain Hindu groups protested against Husain’s nude paintings of a certain Hindu goddess.

Hassan’s frustration was evident on his face when he said that he had pledged all his property on this film and had nothing more to lose, he would leave the country freely.

The 58-year-old Padma Shri awardee has starred in the largest number of films submitted by India in contest for the Academy Award, for Best Foreign Language Film.

Indian democracy started it’s descent towards intolerance when Prof Ashis Nandy’s comments were stifled under the garb of being divisive a few days ago, and reached the peak today when Haasan’s film is being used as a political tool.

What right does the government of Tamil Nadu have to stall a film when the Censor Board has given it a go ahead? What right do they have to stop the screening when the courts have given it a clean chit? What is the politics behind the fringe Muslim groups that have claimed that the movie is offensive? How long will artists have to suffer in the hands of politicians?

In 1989, the landmark Supreme Court judgment in the S. Rangarajan v/s P. Jagajivan Ram case held “freedom of expression cannot be suppressed on account of threat of demonstrations and processions and threat of violence”. The Tamil Nadu Government was not only being severely intolerant but also unconstitutional in deciding to impose a ban on the film.

Haasan said in the press conference that he thinks in Tamil, writes in Tamil and that his poems are in Tamil. If Kamal Hassan is forced to move out of the state in the quest for his uncompromising freedom of expression, the citizens of Tamil Nadu will face a loss they will never make up for.

 

 

Rajinikanth appeals to Muslims to allow Kamal Haasan to release #Vishwaroopam’ #Foe #censorship


TAMIL, Posted on Jan 25, 2013

New Delhi: What days of negotiations failed to achieve, a simple appeal from cinema’s legendary star Rajinikanth might just pull off. Rajinikanth on Friday backed embattled actor-director Kamal Haasan and appealed to the Muslim fraternity to allow him to release his film Vishwaroopam without majorly affecting the storyline of the film.

In a passionate statement issued to the media Rajini asked Muslims “to sit with Haasan and discuss the issue and allow its release without affecting its storyline”.

“Kamal is no ordinary artiste but an extraordinary one who can take Tamil cinema to new levels,” Rajini said.

Kamal Haasan’s latest film ‘Vishwaroopam’ suffered another blow on Friday when the screening was banned in Hyderabad in ‘communally sensitive areas’ because of the Milad-un-Nabi festival. The move comes after the Tamil Nadu government also banned the film on Thursday.

Police asked distributors to refrain from screening the film in communally sensitive zones only for Friday. Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy directed police to stop the screening till Jan 28 after some Muslim leaders called on her and demanded a ban on it.

Following this, the Hyderabad police commissioner asked cinema distributors not to screen the movie at theatres in the city. Cyberabad police commissioner, covering areas around Hyderabad, also directed theatres not to show the movie

But ‘Vishwaroopam’, facing a two week-ban in Tamil Nadu, was released in more than 80 theatres in Kerala. The multi-lingual film was mainly released in B-class theatres under Kerala Cine Exhibitors Association (KCEA). It was also screened in multiplexes and some theatres run by the Kerala Film Exhibitor’s Federation (KFEF), which had declined to exhibit the movie following Haasan’s decision to premier ‘Vishwaroopam’ on DTH format, industry sources said.

 

Kamal Hassan writes to his Fans #Censorship #Vishwapooram


TAMIL, Posted on Jan 24, 2013

 

Actor-director Kamal Hassan on Thursday said that he will take legal recourse against the ban on screening of his film ‘Vishwaroopam‘. Hassan said it was “cultural terrorism” and should stop. Here’s the full text of his statement.

Dear Friends,

While I am touched by the voices in support for me and my film, I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers.

My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathizer. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organization called Harmony India which worked for Hindu Muslim amity.

I am not only hurt by these accusations of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted.

I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happenning again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose.

Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop.

I thank those who rose to the occasion and to my support on the Internet.

Kamal Haasan

 

This kind of cultural terrorism should stop: #KamalHaasan #Vishwapooram #censorship


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Chennai, The Hindu Jan 24,2013

Actor-director Kamal Haasan. File photo
PTIActor-director Kamal Haasan. File photo

Filmmaker Kamal Haasan has said he is appalled at how his film Vishwaroopam has been construed to be against Muslims.

In a strongly worded letter on Thursday morning, copies of which were sent to media organisations, the acclaimed actor said: “While I am touched by the voices in support for me and my film, I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers.”

“My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathizer. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organization called Harmony India which worked for Hindu Muslim amity.”

The actor said not only was he hurt by the accusations “of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted.”

“I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose.”

“Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop.”

 

Nuke activist Udayakumar tops TOI poll


Chennai: Anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar has topped the poll conducted by TOI on role models who made news in 2012 for their vision,work and commitment.
By winning over 50% of the votes,he left luminaries like acclaimed liver surgeon Dr Mohamed Rela,sportspersons Dipika Pallikal and Viswanathan Anand,actor-director Kamal Haasan and Carnatic singer T M Krishna far behind.
Even Magsaysay award winner Kulandei Francis ranked much lower as compared to the anti-nuclear activist,who is campaigning against the Kudankulam power project.
Speaking to TOI on Monday,Udayakumar said that the struggle of the people in Idinthakarai would continue in a peaceful and non-violent manner.He also promised that the people would stand their ground against the project and take the struggle to a political plane.

 

Kamal Hassan against #deathpenalty for rapists


Press Trust of India : Kochi, Mon Dec 24 2012, 07:27 hrs

Renowned actor Kamal Hassan today said he was ashamed of the gang-rape of the 23-year-old girl in Delhi, but was against awarding death penalty to rapists.

“I am against the decision to give them capital punishment because it is not the right way to deal a crime with another crime. Capital punishment itself is a judicially assisted murder,” he told reporters here.

“It is my bus, It is my capital. The girl is my sister and it is my brother who has done it. I am ashamed,” he said.

The rape of the paramedical student on December 16 on a moving bus had evoked anger and nationwide protests for the past few days.

The protests took an ugly turn today in Delhi when hooligans and some political elements hijacked the peaceful protests, resulting in violence and attacks against public property and police which retaliated with teargas and water cannons, leading to injuries to persons on both sides.

Kamal Hassan, who was here for the audio release of his latest flick ‘Viswaroopam‘, to be released on January 11, said he planned a sequel to the movie.

A day before the theatre release, the movie will have a premier show on DTH.

Actress Pooja Kumar, who plays the female lead in the film, was also present.

 

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