Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Maneka; The Animal Police

Mumbai’s film makers are in a state of shock these days. These creative artists has long been the main stay of our society and our young generation looked up to them as role models. They have their freedom in expression and the general public was the final authority to judge their work. But recent incidents are any indicators, it is all going to change soon. So far it was all about their creativity and genius. A film maker finds a story, he shoot it and the public accept or reject it. Period.
A very public figure, a famous daughter-in-law (second only to Sonia Gandhi), and a former Cabinet minister, Maneka Gandhi, the fiery animal savior of India, is out to save all the animals of India. Her perception is that, no animal should be shown in a rude way. Recently a director conceived a story that unfolds in a jungle and has a man-eating tiger as a negative character. He send it to her for approval. Her question was “how can you show a tiger as a villain?” and told the director to look for some other story. She won’t approve it.
So tiger is pure-vegetarian animal, harms no one and should be worshipped! He is not a villain at all. Just ask the Borivili people!! In another film where rabbits where used and depicted killing them, she objected to it. But as Times Of India writer put it, it is just film ma’am. They show murders and rapes in films, and does that mean some human activists should object to it? There is a lot of gibberish she has uttered in the same manner. All this show the utter nonsensical approach towards creativity and genius. May she succeed in her ways because of lack of concern of the authorities towards the artists. After films she may turn her attention to some other fields. Just imagine the following scenario.
• Painters can’t show animals in their paintings in a rude manner.
• Newspaper can’t print their pictures because often this comes under the feet of people.
• Video games such as deer hunter, bird hunter must be banned
• All zoos must close because it has animals in captivity.
• Borivili public should shift to Palghar or Dahanu because tigers and leopards must be given first priority. (Borivili is the place where a lot of leopard attack reported due to the close proximity to National Park)
• Stray dog must be treated with respect (where street kids are dispensable)
• Slaughter houses can’t hang skinned parts as it is insult to the dead.
If her fantasy run really wide, she may imagine the following too.
• Every street dog should be provided with a home.
• Milk is meant for calves and it’s use must be banned (Same with meat, egg etc.)
And some over-eager human activist can pick her trail and demand the same with Humans. After all everybody is entitled to an opinion. But one must clearly understand the thin line between opinion and judgment.
Where are we heading? True, animals must be protected and treated with kindness, but her demands and perception is stretching it too far. Every director gets a permission to shoot from the respective boards/committees before he/she uses animals in the film. But every one has to convince her to get the approval is pure egoistic. Is she the only one concerned? Isn’t she mocking the censor board? Who is she to decide what is right and what is wrong? In a land where hero worshipping and god men prevail, she has gained a cult figure. A very adamant one.
The second one who is trying to control bollywood is our Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss. His proposed ban of Smocking on screen has attracted a lot of criticism and the new Information & Broadcasting minister, P R Dasmunshi put an end by saying “it is next to impossible to enact it.” A blanket ban on smocking was on card. Just think a film about Churchill without his cigar, a film about Devdas without drinks, a Documentary about Shah Rukh Khan without Cigarette. How would it feel?
The ignoramuses at top, at least try to, understand the complexities of film making,m specially getting a theme and putting it on paper and co-operate with them. Instead of hampering their genius by putting unnecessary roadblocks in their way. They are not barbarians who would kill for fun. They are responsible citizens who cares about their environment. May be better than you.

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