– Md Sami Ahmed
Noted film actor Naseeruddin Shah has said that the success of jingoistic films like Gadar 2 and the Kerala Story is a dangerous trend. He said it was disturbing that films like Kashmir Files are so massively popular. Talking about films like Kerala Story and Gadar 2, Mr. Shah said that though he had not seen them yet “I know what they are about.”
In an interview with Free Press Journal, Shah said, “Nowadays the more jingoist you are the more popular you become because this is what has been ruling this country.” He was responding to the question of what has changed in Bollywood in the objective of filmmaking over the years.
He pointed out that it was frightening when filmmakers were being coopted into making films that praise all the wrong things and run down other communities for no reason at all. He termed it as a dangerous trend.
He said, “It’s not enough to love your country but beat drums about it and you have to create imaginary enemies. What these people don’t realise is that what they are doing is very harmful.”
He expressed his disappointment that films made by Sudhir Mishra, Anubhav Sinha, and Hansal Mehta, “who are trying to portray the truth of their times” don’t get seen. He added that it was important that these filmmakers didn’t lose heart and continue telling stories.
The veteran actor concluded, “They will be responsible for posterity. A hundred years later people will see Bheed and they will also see Gadar 2 and see which one portrays the truth of our times because film is the only medium which could do that.”
He opined that it was hard to resort to abstraction and capture life as it was. He said that regressive was a pretty mild word for what was going on.
When questioned about his not mincing words while the celebrities seldom do, he replied, “I believe keeping silent is a prudent silent assent. It’s important to say what one really feels. The right-wingers are also saying what they feel to say, and they are free to say, why should I be afraid.”
He said, “I don’t see why one mustn’t be forthright.”