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Shiv Sena members can’t remember why they were against Dharavi: Sudhir Mishra


The veteran filmmaker was in no mood to mince words at the Lonavala International Film Festival of India.

Keyur Seta

Films facing the brunt from political parties or some outfits isn’t a new phenomenon. During a discussion at the Lonavala International Film Festival of India (LIFFI), filmmaker Sudhir Mishra recalled the time when his film, Dharavi (1991) was banned by the Shiv Sena. 

The veteran filmmaker was asked whether filmmakers find a convenient way while dealing with political subjects just to be safe. He explained, “Censorship in India is a fact. It’s also a fact that you can’t say certain things. There is a misunderstanding about political cinema, which is not necessary about politics but a political point of view. There is left political and also right political.”

Mishra did agree that filmmakers use a convenient method to some extent. “There is little bit convenience. You have seen how a film is stopped even if an actor says something. It’s an expensive medium. I made Dharavi in 1991. It was a big thing for me to get the film released in six theatres in Mumbai. But Shiv Sena pulled it from theatres in a week as they were upset with it. Obviously, we faced losses.”

What he revealed further had people in splits, “Today when I meet some Shiv Sena members and ask them the reason for pulling down my film, they themselves don’t remember.” 

However, Mishra added that this doesn’t mean one should shy away from making films on politics. “I am just saying there is a risk in it. I am again making a political film. After Dharavi, I made Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2005). I made it during UPA’s first year in 2004. I am the only one who made a film against the Emergency then. I stayed in UPA rule for 10 years after making an anti-Emergency film.”

The filmmaker also took a dig at the members of the film industry who are speaking against Congress and Emergency. “Those who have come this side now, didn’t make a film on politics in 2004. Those who are saying, ‘I am anti-Congress,’ didn’t remember about the Emergency in 2004. Today suddenly it has dawned upon them.”