Even as the I&B Ministry is facing ire after S Durga (originally titled Sexy Durga) and Nude, did not make it to the ongoing film festival in Goa, and the issue around Padmavati peaks – Smriti Irani spoke about how tolerant BJP-ruled government is.
At the opening ceremony, Rajkummar Rao cracked a joke by linking Irani’s surname with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majiidi, whose film Beyond The Clouds was screened at the festival. To this Smriti said:
I will not say much. I think Rajkumar Rao, the word should go around throughout the country that you have joked about Irani, which shows what a tolerant government we are. Thank you. I am thanking you so that at least no one should say that BJP walas broke an actor’s leg.
Who knew a dig at Smriti Irani’s surname could be taken as an attack against the government? And who knew that in not acting out against the said joke, Irani was demonstrating how tolerant the government is? So much to learn every day.
Smriti Irani’s statement was a subtle dig at all those slamming the government for censoring creativity in cinema, but sort of falls flat on its face because, irony. From threatening to chop of Deepika Padukone’s head to offering a bounty for both her and Sanjay Leela Bhansali – the threats from low-scale BJP leaders have come in quick. A few days ago, Haryana BJP leader Surajpal Amu, said he would break Ranveer Singh’s legs, and announced a bounty of Rs 10 crore on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s head.
What hasn’t followed sadly, is the condemnation of these open threats by major BJP leaders. Neither Irani or Goa CM Manohar Parrikar – who was present at the ceremony – had anything to offer about the row.
The chief guest of the festival, Shah Rukh Khan emphasised the importance of storytelling in the times of dissent. Sadly, he too seems plagued by the inability to actually talk about a controversy openly. Making oblique comments at best. He said:
I believe no matter what your language, no matter what country your story comes from and no matter what your ideology is, storytelling and listening should be a familiar experience, which binds us all together, makes relationships stronger even in the face of dissent and discussion… as it usually happens in a family, instead of tearing us apart.
Meanwhile, Shahid Kapoor, who stars is Padmavati, had this to say:
I will choose to be optimistic till the due course is done. This is not the time to be angry, not the time to lose your cool. There are enough people doing that. So I would choose to say that I believe in the process.
Let’s hope his optimism pays off. For now, Padmavati‘s December 1 release date has been postponed.
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