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Disclaimers in films an ‘assault’

Censoring itself is archaic and obsolete, says Gopalakrishnan

By PTI in Mumbai
  • Published 18.03.19, 12:06 PM
  • Updated 18.03.19, 12:06 PM
  • a min read
Adoor Gopalakrishnan The Telegraph picture

Globally renowned auteur Adoor Gopalakrishnan feels that showing disclaimers during smoking and drinking scenes in films is an “assault” on one’s work as he wondered whether films are platforms to teach good character.

A winner of multiple national and international awards, the septuagenarian director, known for his sensitive portrayals and intense storylines, is also of the view that censorship is “anti-democratic”, archaic and obsolete in the era of electronic media.

Asked what he considers a good film, Gopalakrishnan says: “It is like telling whether a novel is good or bad after reading it. If a film gives you a good experience, then it is a good film.”

In an interview to PTI, he also emphasised that it demands too much “from you” for providing that good experience.

Gopalakrishnan, who has made 12 feature films since his first offering Swayamvaram (One’s Own Choice) in 1972, said: “In films, advisories are shown when someone drinks, someone smokes and when there is violence against women. Is film a place to teach good character? If that is the case, then it should be shown in a country where everything is perfect.”

Wondering whether people are going to become better after watching films, Gopalakrishnan said such practices happened mainly because films are seen more as “crass entertainment or lowly superficial entertainment”.

“Are films a kind of public wall to display posters? This happens mainly because cinemas are seen as just crass entertainment and such practices would not be there if films are seen as a work of art.

“It (disclaimers) is an assault on your work.… It is a kind of disrespect for the work of art being shown there,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of Gateway LitFest earlier this month in Mumbai, Gopalakrishnan said: “Censoring is not part of a democracy. It is a big mistake in a democracy. It is anti-democratic.… Censoring films is an old practice and in this era of electronic media, there is no meaning for such censoring. Censoring itself is archaic and obsolete.”

According to him, the Constitution is supreme, a very detailed one that has not left out anything for arbitrary interpretations.

“We have a very good Constitution. I have studied the constitutions of various countries. Our Constitution is very detailed and has not left out anything. We have freedom and that freedom should not be harmful for others. Freedom is allowed within the constitutional provisions,” Gopalakrishnan said.