Addressing the controversy surrounding "Padmavati", filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Aanand L Rai today said that many in the fraternity are scared to come out in the open to support director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Bhansali has been at the receiving end of fringe Rajput groups and politicians, who have accused him of distorting historical facts, a claim repeatedly denied by the director.
The makers had to defer the December 1 release and are still awaiting the clearance from the censor board.
In an interview with PTI, both Kashyap and Rai opened up about the "atmosphere of fear" and why they would not judge people for not backing Bhansali openly.
Kashyap said he would not reveal whether he had spoken to Bhansali or not as he did not want to put the filmmaker "in the dock".
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: You faced trouble during "Udta Punjab" but the industry came together. Why do you think the same has not happened in the case of "Padmavati" or the IFFI row over the exclusion of "S Durga" and "Nude" from the festival?
A: Rai: There is a lot of fear for all of us and not just makers...
Kashyap: There is a fear in the atmosphere. Are you not afraid as media? Then what are we lying about?
Q: Does it somewhere stop or prevent you from making a certain kind of cinema?
A: Kashyap: "Right now the question is, in an atmosphere like this, can I question someone who is afraid? No I can't. I have to make my choice whether I choose to be afraid or fearless. I will stand up for that choice. But I will not resent someone who is afraid. I will also not look down upon someone who is afraid.
"If someone is afraid... I understand why he or she is afraid. I will not judge the person and I will also not question the person. If I have to fight, I will fight my own battle. If someone stands by me, good."
Q: Are you glad that everyone came together for you ("Udta Punjab")?
A: Kashyap: "I am very happy and always grateful when people come (to show support) but I am not ungrateful when people don't come. I am not disappointed when they don't come..."
Rai: "But there is a difference (here). The maker was standing for himself. He was standing in forefront. Right now somewhere that is missing (with 'Padmavati'). And that is missing because of the kind of fear you, me, all of us, even the makers and everyone is facing.
"So he is unable to take that stand. For 'Udta Punjab', he (Kashyap) was there with director Abhishek Chaubey. Anurag was the voice. You need a voice. Here (in case of 'Padmavati') it is missing."
Kashyap: "In this industry there is always a silent support system. I have always had this silent support. I have never felt I was alone in the film industry till now."
Q: Talking about the silent support... Have you guys spoken to Bhansali?
A: Kashyap: "It is not up to me to say whether I have spoken or not. I am not in the dock, he (Bhansali) is in the dock. I don't want to say anything that will further put him down in the situation. I want to be there for him, I am there for him. I don't want to worsen his situation."
Kashyap and Rai have come together for upcoming film "Mukkabaaz". The film is directed by Kashyap and produced by Rai.