Prakash Raj at IFFK 2017: When artists become cowards, they make society cowardly
At the 22nd edition of IFFK, Prakash Raj talked about a lack of dissent in public discourse, his concerns for the future generation and his love for Kerala.
The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2017 kicked off with a solemn note and a candle-light vigil marking a tribute to all the victims of Cyclone Ochki. The 22nd edition of the film festival had noted Bengali veteran Madhabi Mukherjee and south Indian actor Prakash Raj as the chief guests for the evening, reports The Times of India.
During the inaugural speech, Raj talked about a lack of dissent in public discourse, his concerns for the future generation and his love for Kerala.
"When I come to Kerala I don’t come with a script to talk because there is no censor here. I love you because this is one state where I can breathe without fear. Whatever I am going to talk, I believe with integrity that this is what I should talk," begins Raj, as quoted by The Quint, in one of its reports.
Raj has recently been in headlines for openly lashing out at the BJP government and its "right-wing" policies. Speaking about his opinions on the present socio-politico-cultural environment of the country, Raj opines, "I talk and I raise my voice because I don’t belong to a political. I raise my voice as an artist as I feel responsible to speak. We the film fraternity, artists of the society, are what we are not because of (our) talents. But, they are what they are because of the love from the society.
“When artists, creators, and creative people become cowards, we should realise we make society cowardly,” adds Raj. “We have to be the voice of those who cannot raise voices,” reports The Indian Express.
Speaking about the whole controversy around Padmavati and the lack of action taken against the bounty callers, the ones who threaten out in the open, Raj slams the BJP-led government. “Today if somebody is being lynched and killed in Rajasthan. If somebody is threatened that we will cut your nose. Cut your head. And there is a prize money announced and then they can go scot-free. We need to think ladies and gentlemen, what is this narrative,” adds the Express report.
He also raised questions over the recent debate over the Malayalam film S Durga that was banned from IFFI 2017. The Express report quotes him: "Films being stopped is the most dangerous thing. Stopping thinking, creativity, free expression is the most dangerous disease a society can have. Yes, there have been such incidents of stopping a dissenting voice and artwork for years. But, today we are questioning because you are doing it. Don’t ask me why didn’t you question them," he continues, and raises some serious questions. "They have a problem with a film called, S Durga. But the same people have no problem with ‘Durga Wine and Bar’. They don’t have a problem if a street named ‘Durga is dirty'.”
Other attendees at the inaugural ceremony included veteran filmmakers Aparna Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Chalachitra Academy chairman Kamal, Chalachitra Academy secretary Mahesh Panju, IFFK artistic director Bina Paul, IFFK jury chairman Marco Muller, IFFK jury member Aboubacker Sanogo and Kerala govt's cultural department secretary Rani George among others, as per the report by The Times of India.
The 8-day film festival began with the screening of the French-Lebanese film The Insult, directed by Ziad Doueiri. On Saturday (9 December), around 68 films will be screened. The international competition section will also kick off with the screening of the films — Symphony for Ana , directed by Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina, and Grain directed by the Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanagolu, adds the TOI report.
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