Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday condemned the ‘boycott culture’ targeting films and said such incidents vitiated the atmosphere of the country at a time when India was keen on enhancing its soft power. He also asserted that there should be no restrictions on creativity.
Thakur suggested that an aggrieved party could take up any issue they had regarding a film with the authorities instead of spreading hatred and spite. He said the government, in its turn, would take up the issue with the filmmakers if needed.
“We (Indian cinema) have a lot to offer. We have a lot to showcase, especially our rich cultural heritage. The world of cinema is incomplete without India. India is the largest film-making country,” Thakur said.
“At a time when India is keen to enhance its influence as a soft power, at a time when Indian films are making waves in every corner of the world, such talk vitiates the atmosphere,” Thakur said while responding to queries on the trend of calls to boycott films.
According to News Agencies, Thakur made the comments while inaugurating the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Film Festival which will showcase 58 movies from the regional grouping of eight Eurasian nations. Pakistan has skipped participation in the SCO film festival.
“If someone has a problem (with a film), then they should talk to the department concerned, which will take it up with the producer and director,” Thakur said. “But sometimes, just to vitiate the atmosphere, some people comment on something even before knowing about it fully. That causes problems. This should not happen,” the minister added.
At the event, Thakur pitched for creative independence and said there should be no “restrictions” on creativity. He also said that adequate safeguards were in place to monitor content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
Thakur also said his ministry had received complaints about content on OTT platforms, but almost 95 percent of the grievances were settled at the level of producers. He added that most of the remaining issues were resolved at the second stage of the association of publishers of the content. Just one percent of complaints reached the inter-departmental committee and it was ensured that strict action was taken in such cases, Thakur said.
Thakur’s take holds relevance as calls for boycott surfaced ahead of the release of several movies, including Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan, Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha, and Deepika Padukone’s Padmaavat.
Despite boycott calls over the song Besharam Rang, Shah Rukh Khan’s return to the big screen has been noted for more than one reason. Pathaan continued to rake in big numbers at the global box office as the film’s worldwide collection on day two reached Rs 219.6 crore, the makers announced on Thursday.