Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi on Padmavati set vandalism and routine attacks on creative freedom
MID-DAY (April 10, 2017)

"Dissent in a democracy is acceptable, but only as long as it doesn’t take a violent turn", said Shabana Azmi while promoting her latest work, Sonata, in Kolkata. Expressing concern over “manufactured dissent”, she said it is the state government’s responsibility to maintain law and order.

“Dissent in art is a fundamental right. But if it is dissent about a book, a piece of art, and if you don’t like it, you have the right to express your views outside the theatre, but you cannot create a law and order situation.
Then the state has to step in,” Azmi said.

Alluding to the back-to-back attacks on the set of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati in Jaipur and Masai Pathar near Kolhapur, the veteran actress said such protests are held by those who seek momentary fame. “How much of the film is really offending people and how much of it is manufactured? Because 10 people can get up and say this film offends them and have TV cameras on them.”

If a state government is willing, she added, it can control any violent protest. “If a film, after being certified by the Censor Board, faces protests by extra-constitutional groups and if the state wants to be in charge (of the situation), it can,” she said.