{ Page-Title / Story-Title }

News Hindi Malayalam Tamil

IFFI 2017: Padmavati protests a ploy to divert attention from real issues, says actress-filmmaker Rohini

We live in a time of strict censorship, the National award-winner said on the sidelines of the festival in Goa.


Censorship is not just affecting cinema but literature as well in contemporary India, National award-winning actress and filmmaker Rohini said on Friday.

She said the chaos following protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati was being used to divert attention from real crises in the country.

Rohini was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which has been marred by the controversy following the unceremonious dropping of two films, the Malayalam S Durga and the Marathi Nude, from the Indian Panorama, resulting in the resignation of three jury members.

The Andhra Pradesh-born actress, who won a National award in 1995, said the canvas of censorship covers literature as well as cinema, citing the example of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan whose novel Madhorubhagan, or One-Part Woman, which triggered protests as well as litigation. As a result, Murugan had threatened to give up writing.

"We live in a time of strict censorship," Rohini told reporters. "You can see many things happening over the last three years, which includes the protests against Perumal Murugan's novel. There is no freedom of expression and freedom of speech. If somebody says something, they get arrested or raided."

Commenting on the protests against Padmavati, Rohini said the agitations against the film drowned out the protests held by 3,000-odd farmers in the national capital on 20 November. "I think the controversy over Padmavati was a tactic to divert people's attention," she said. "Because if you talk about cinema, everyone will speak about it."

On the controversy at IFFI over S Durga, she said censorship in art and literature must be opposed. "We have to protest and stand our ground," the veteran said. "We have to say it's not right. We should send out a message that nobody is taking it lying down. You cannot curb freedom of expression and speech. We will protest and win it back."

Meanwhile, the Kerala high court today turned down a request from the Union information and broadcasting ministry to stay its earlier order to the IFFI authorities to screen a certified copy of S Durga at the festival.

Related topics

IFFI Censorship