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We should have a difference of opinion, ideology and argument, says Nandita Das


Das was present at the launch of the #FilmForChange campaign, an initiative by the Indian Documentary Foundation and Good Pitch India, to support documentary films and filmmakers.

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IANS

Nandita Das is doubtful if Firaaq (2009), her directorial on the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots, would have released in the current socio-political environment. The actor-filmmaker, who believes people have become "touchy", says space for disagreement and existence of different ideologies is crucial in a democratic society.

From raising her voice on the bias against dusky skin in Indian society, acting in thought-provoking and bold films like Fire (1998) and I Am (2011) — Das's work has made substantial contribution to the attempt at bringing about a change through the medium of entertainment.

Over the past few years, censor issues, bans and protests related to movies has become rampant.

Asked if people are becoming over-sensitive about films, Das told IANS, a news agency, "Sensitive is not the word. People are being touchy. For me, sensitive is a positive word. Being sensitive means you care about somebody, you care for others' pain.

"Being touchy and trying to control opinion, trying to dictate what to say, what to show, is not being sensitive. As a society, we should have space for dissent to grow.

"We should have a difference of opinion, ideology and argument. I might just dislike some of the films and TV shows that are shown, I might just find it completely regressive but does that mean I will break all the TV sets and stop people to watch them? No, I will express my opinion on social media. I would rather use these platforms usefully."

Das was present at the launch of the #FilmForChange campaign, an initiative by the Indian Documentary Foundation and Good Pitch India, to support documentary films and filmmakers.

She believes more documentaries can enrich the audience.

"I think documentary films bring out the truth of the matter in the narration. In today's time, when investigative journalism is going away and people's attention span is becoming shorter, we need more and more documentary films to get an insight of the incidents that are happening around us," she said.

Das said she finds the digital platforms a great space for the audience to watch many interesting and engaging documentary films.

"It is true that the release or even making of a documentary is difficult in terms of budget and in terms of getting financiers. But as more and more people are watching documentaries on the digital platform, filmmakers gain a chance to convince producers about how people are watching such films and their money will not be wasted," said the 1947 Earth (1998) actress.

The audience is eagerly awaiting her new directorial Manto, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the role of author Saadat Hasan Manto.

Without giving out much, Das said, "It was a tough film to make as not much documents were easily available. In the film, I have captured only four years of Manto's life."