What a shame!

In an email titled “What a shame!”, a filmmaker says:

I think we, as filmmakers, should all hang our heads in shame watching this unconstitutional activity of banning a certified film. What right does the state government have to ban a film simply based on some unsupported sentiments voiced by some vested interests. To presume a film is going to cause public damage is simply stating that these groups are ready to create the necessary ‘untoward’ violence at the cinema theatres. There are two problems here. One is targeting films and film stars as soft goal posts when you know these people have no way to fight back. The second is the kind of benefits that the state government and their political parties are leveraging this unwarranted demand for some of their tactical purposes. Everyone knows this and sadly very few have the authority to oppose this. Instead the cynical intelligentsia will dismiss it as a publicity stunt by the film stars to get more attention. Anyway, we the filmmakers, lose whatever little self respect that we have in such state! How and what do we do?

I’m not sure. All I have now is that “oh crap, after all that effort to get those tickets” feeling…

51 thoughts on “What a shame!

  1. I was enraged. To quote A Kashyap, when his film Black Friday was finally screened, “our government are a bunch eunuchs who couldn’t even ensure that people, who wishes to watch a movie, can watch it peacefully.” And also, is it only in Tamil Nadu that the muslims would be offended? What about the muslims elsewhere?

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  2. It is obviously a move by Amma to demonstrate that she is not pro-Hindu, to counter the image created by her recent public friendliness with the BJP and Modi. As Kushboo tweeted, “Complete state of shock on hearing the #banonvishwaroopam by govt.of TN..where r we heading?let’s dissolve a body called #censor..come on!!” The move seems especially ridiculous when considering that the High Court may stay the ban today. Then where will the Govt. go to hang their heads in shame. If the judiciary has any authority left in this God-forsaken country, then the ban should be stayed. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it happens.

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  3. But BR,you have only those tickets to lose.We’ve lost a great review!

    The saga of such expert aggrieved opinion continues.I distinctly recollect a small article in a newspaper about a group decrying the use of the refrain ‘Mustafa,Mustafa’ in ARR’s monster hit song that year or about ‘Noor ul ala’ (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/does-mf-husain-love-controversy/9569-8.html) in 2004. Who remembers these nuggets today? The movie is hardly going to dissappear into thin air because of this.

    The Sufi poet Attar recounts the fable of a king who asks a select group of wise men to fashion a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After a team huddle the profs hand him a ring with the words “This too will pass” etched on it……………………

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  4. And India is a democracy – but without any freedom of speech , there is a larger point at stake here, any and every tinpot organisation can essentially hold a multi-crore project to ransom, just cause their “feelings” would get hurt , as if thats a reason , less said about the political machinations behind this , the better.

    Boy, am i glad i don’t live in TN or India.

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  5. Tamil Muslims cannot take even a small bit of criticism. Kamal should release his movie in the rest of the country. The Tamil Muslim groups are the biggest fascists in the country. They need to be banned.

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  6. Why kamal?why not the hundreds of Hollywood movies screened here showing the turbaned bearded fellows chopping heads left and right with that ugly grin?Why not Vijayakanth movies where he single handedly massacre thousands of pakis with a single bore pistol?
    Ludicrous,brainless and pathetic.

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  7. IMO it is all drama. I just have a feeling that the ban will be removed at the last minute and the cash registers for first weekend will ring more than ever, thanks to the multiplied negative publicity. Again i cud be wrong.

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  8. Why do we get the feeling that Kamal more than others is becoming a target of such petty things. Do any other filmmaker face such problems? When an Indian tries to take Indian cinema to new heights, you need not give a shoulder for him to climb, atleast dont pull him down. Setting such precedents can only make things worse in the future and will sow seeds of doubt in the creativity of filmmakers. Im sure Indian audience are mature enough to decide for themselves whether a film hurts their sentiments or not.

    What a shame indeed

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  9. We live in such times. Where someone somewhere is always offended at something. In any case, this is not the first instance and it will not be the last. It is as frustrating as hearing my kid come home and say ‘My feelings are hurt’. My first reaction is to mutter, ‘If you don’t knock it off, a lot more than your feelings are going to get hurt.’

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  10. strange that the court lifts the ban on permission process by the state for staging drama and on the same day the state invokes the ban on a Tamil film of a veteran who has forty years standing .

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  11. Kamal has diplomatically slammed this as “cultural terrorism” … in plain words for us normal homosapiens – it’s best understood as “hooliganism” or “thuggery” or “fanaticism” or “lawlessness”.

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  12. I just saw this debate on a news channel on this issue where a pro-ban guy who happens to be part of something like a National Harmony Ensuring Committee keeps saying to the panel- “People, please don’t talk without seeing the movie. I have seen it and I am of the view that it’s not good and should not be screened.”

    I didn’t know how to react.

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  13. Fuck Kushboo. She joined a party that pioneered the cine-mafia, holding an entire film industry hostage at times and pushing ahead their own family produced films. We dont need her tweets to spell out things for us

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  14. The bell rings louder and louder as we hammer yet another nail to the coffin called democracy. Sadly this is the politics of Indian cinema where every attempt to traverse the off beaten path will be punished, severly!

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  15. I am seeing it tonight…will see what the ruckus is all about. In any case, what’s happening is terrible from an artistic freedom perspective! Good luck on seeing Zero Dark Thirty in India then!!

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  16. Shankar: Okay, but please keep your opinions/thoughts/views/reviews to yourself until the rest of us can join in. Unlike the tweeting folks, some of us still have our blinkers on :-)

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  17. I really want to….don’t know how easy it is… with Mada Gaja Raja in her house…
    Definitely a good idea though…

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  18. Mr Rangan . please remove the offensive remark of vijay and it lacks decency and decorum of a public platform and it is surprising how it escaped the moderator and wonder how you got this loaded on to the posting section.

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  19. Baddy, now you know how I feel when you guys are all discussing films and I can’t join because the movie hasn’t released here! :-)

    I’ll reserve my thoughts until it releases over there.

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  20. On the eve of the most awaited judgment in recent times, a commentary on the legality of the HC’s request for screening the film (Article in Tamil)

    http://marchoflaw.blogspot.in/2013/01/blog-post_27.html

    There were two issues that baffled me even more than the protests and the demands for the ban – these latter were not entirely unexpected given that they had been simmering for a while. Again, it is easy to understand that In a society like ours, people can get offended at an eyelid’s batting and the easiest way out for our resource-strapped govts is to curtail artistic freedom. And as the SC ruling on Dam 99′s ban extension in TN (that came the same day as this ban) shows, the courts may allow it too.

    What was totally unexpected and unacceptable too then was not the ban itself (it was painful as a fan though), but the process the government followed in sanctioning it.
    Some 30 ‘representatives’ (many of whom have descended through the lineage of banned outfits like al Umma and/or subscribe to a Deobandi/Wahabi reading of Islam) watch a film to get offended, collect crowds, shout slogans and submit an application.
    Our honourable and beloved CM who is just back from her retreat (is it fortnightly now?), decides to take up this most pressing of matters, calls her staff and issues the ban. It’s as easy and as simple as that. No consultations with third party observers (What? Am I for real?), no hearing with the other(?offending) party and WTF, not even a personal viewing before the decision!!
    Even if one dismisses the allegation as baseless – that this ban is proof of the psychotic streak that runs in Amma which makes her deadlier than the snake in exacting her revenge – and even if one accepts the argument that the ban was simply a transfer of responsibility to the courts, this is astonishingly simplistic to believe was how it was decided. Financial setbacks to the producer aside (which anyway rightly cannot influence the govt’s decision), what a straightaway ban did was to provide these fringe groups the much-needed legitimacy and strength to step up and spread out the agitations to rest of the country/world. This way while the govt may have avoided clashes in its own state, it is squarely to blame for what happened in Kerala/Bhadravathi, I’d say.

    As if this was not enough, the single judge’s request for a screening of the film (which it turns out, was watched by other judges as well, with their family members, of course) came a shocker and I felt vaguely was not legally tenable. The article (linked to above) seems to raise this argument in legal terms.

    Sorry for the rant though. And hoping you get to see the film soon.

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  21. BR, I can’t believe you would be scampering around for early tickets like us regular folk. There are times I envy the movie crtics job; Great entertainment as part of your job, now thats something everyone would envy, I assume. Having lived in North India and US, this mad scampering for tickets seem to be TamilNadu specific phenomenon. I can still imagine walking to a multiplex in Bombay in the first week and watching a popular movie without any advance bookings. Then again maybe there are a lot more multiplexes in Bombay !

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  22. Shankar, come on with it. Take your revenge…for all those movies which were discussed here before you could see :)

    Kamal himself has said that it is just a box-office attempt with some class, not another hey Ram or Viru. Not much expectations from the movie itself but the whole ban episode is disheartening.

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  23. Raj,
    Can you source where Kamal said that about VR, all three movies belong to three different genre. Clearly VR is way too ahead of the other two in the film making ( Except the BGM may be in the other two was far superior). VR is technically outstanding..great original script and awesome performance… by entire crew ..first half never seen in any Kamal movies in the last 15 years, watched in NJ in packed house.
    This is not just a box -office attempt….class of it’s own…very confidently made well definitely not another Hey Ram or VM …..but far superior.

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  24. Whichever part of the world you live in, there is always this “orchestrated outrage’ over the the most trivial matter … religion esp the one in question here. For cyring out loud … its just a damed movie! Salman Rushdie the victim of the most hideous of all bans & death threat / sentence, sums in quite succintly that these groups who are outraged at movie-makers, authors & publishers, must be consistent in registering their outrage in all anti-civil matters – be it act of terrorism, cultural censorhip, controls over artistic expressions etc etc. Till then, there will always be outrage, demonstrations, burnings of effigies, street hooliganisms …. this one is just another episode.

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  25. I’m torn between two emotions here – one being humor and the other being utter hopelessness.

    Actually, scratch hopeless. It’s funny when someone asks a blogger to remove a comment that’s offensive to him underneath a blog post about censorship.

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  26. its not a humour but a tumour . freedom doesn’t mean to use any word one likes and its a wrong act and lacks decency . my support for freedom sprouts from the fact that it is certified by CBFC and no ban or objection is needed any more .

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  27. BR, Saw your appearance on CNN-IBN. You made a fair point on why problems weren’t created for Argo, Kurbaan and other similar films, and why films with big stars (Vishwaroopm, Thuppakki) are being targeted. I felt it was a very good and very pertinent point which wasn’t given further discussion because the debate at large was more politically-driven than cinema-driven.

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  28. Never thought this would affect me so much.
    This is a failure a deep failure on the part of every right thinking person in TN.

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  29. Balaji: I was just a little surprised that they call four people, given for a 30 minute show. Or, 30 minutes – 8 minutes of ads – 10 minutes of the anchor holding forth = little more than 3 minutes per guest. What kind of “debate” can you really have in that time? Though Leela Samson made some really good points.

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  30. At this point, it’s a crying shame…made terrible by the stoic silence of the film fraternity. Don’t give me those token noises as proof of support. It’s painful to watch one man fight the machinery…feels like a military state. Democracy? Sure, la la land and we can keep fooling ourselves! Well, I guess my plans for the weekend are made…I’ll watch the film again, as a show of support! And if Kamal really wants out of the country, we’ll welcome him with open hands. Thank you!

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  31. Some viewers might not have got a sense of why Karan kept pushing Leela Samson on whether she is going to sue the Advocate General or not. But a few minutes later, the stub appeared in the below reel, “Leela Samson says she’ll sue TN Advocate General”. It made it sound as if she was physically incensed to the point of making the statement in rage while in actuality she simply said, “That might have to be necessary.” Rajdeep Sardesai also “quoted” Leela Samson in the 9 PM primetime show . But we all knew our media runs on such sensationalism.

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  32. BR Leela Samson was very good – she has been articulate , clear and very forthright in all the appearances, telephone interviews she has made. You made a good point re- Argo , i am just surprised that the anchor didn’t elaborate on that more.

    Looks like a compromise is on hands – boy am i glad i don’t live in India.

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  33. Saw you on the CNN-IBN debate too, BR.

    You’d think ‘Vishwaroopam’ is about as easy an Indian movie title as it gets. Heard so many teevee people mispronouncing it.

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