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Ajit Andhare, Chief Operating Officer, Viacom 18Motion Pictures, which co-produced the controversy-ridden "Padmaavat", today said it's a myth that filmmakers stoke controversy for free publicity.
The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed film ran into a major controversy with several Rajput outfits taking offence over the portrayal of queen Padmavati.
At a panel discussion at the on-going FICCI Frames, Andhare said one "big myth" filmmakers deal with is that for them, "all publicity is good publicity."
"No storyteller, no one in the business of films wants to stoke up a controversy, least of all when you are making a mainstream film, which also happens to be the most expensive film of the industry. This is a big myth, which we should clearly dispense with," he said.
"In the case of 'Udta Punjab' also, these kind of things were said. Nobody courts controversies, certainly not stakeholders, when so much is at stake," he added.
Andhare said during the "Padmaavat" controversy, they were trying to "dissuade people from what they were believing was in the film" but "nobody was listening."
The panel discussion, titled 'The Myth of Offence : Are Historical & biopics endangered species' was moderated by screenwriter Anjum Rajabali.
Andhare said there's no lack of understanding from the government's side "about the importance of the (film) industry" but raised concerns over the mixing of politics with films."
"If politics is going to be mixed with the business of films, then we are in for difficult times... Till date, we have not had a situation where a film, ultimately with the institutions backing it -- judiciary, censor board - has been stopped in this country."
"At the most what has happened is, that a couple of states or a state, where there is a political pressure, the films don't find a release," he added.
Padmaavat, though released nationwide, was banned in four states. Andhare said creative people can't let such controversies affect their voice, and should continue to make the film they believe in.
"If we start letting this affect us in our choices of subjects, then I think we are already slipping because we are not even trying to make another film which might offend someone or someone might manufacture a dissent. We need not get influenced by it. That's why I said, I hope this ('Padmaavat' row) is an exception and not a norm."
Credits - PTI