It is shocking that the only decisive factor that forced the organisers of the International Film Festival of India to abandon screening a documentary in 2009 was the name of the director — M.F. Husain (“M.F. Husain documentary screened,” Dec. 1). It is, however, welcome that this time they finally managed to stand up to a right-wing group and screen it. It is sad that we are unable to see the greatness of a person and have fallen victim to parochial points of view and religious bigotry. Talent and creativity always seem to be forgotten.
Every time we get an opportunity to correct the wrong deeds we have done to the late Husain, we intentionally miss it. The withdrawal of a film directed by the legendary painter from screening was a big shock to his fans and a blow to our secular system.. The cinema as an art form is and should be above all narrow considerations.
M. Somasekhar Prasad,
The attempts by misguided elements to prevent the screening and the initial reaction of the organisers are a cause for concern. The Central Board of Film Certification is a statutory body of the government. Once it certifies a film or a documentary as fit for public exhibition, there is no reason why it should be withdrawn from being screened even in the face of threats and coercion. In fact, the appropriate venues for such documentaries are international film festivals, with an appreciative audience.
However, it is gratifying to note that the organisers decided to go ahead this time. This is a signal honour done to the late artist who was not allowed to have his peace of mind in the last few years of his otherwise illustrious and glorious life.
This decision also sends out a message to those who do not understand our culture of tolerance and plurality (editorial, Dec. 1)
A. Michael Dhanaraj,
In “Don't bend to bigots” (editorial, Dec.1) you have rightly mentioned that for noble people, the entire world is one big family. One should be liberal and broadminded and uphold the spirit of cosmopolitanism and tolerance.
Good documentaries should not be prevented from getting listed in the competition for the Golden Bear award at the Berlin international film Festival. It is the responsibility of the IFFI to promote cinema as a vehicle that encourages reflection and debate on a variety of social issues.
It is satisfying that the authorities in Goa did not buckle under pressure from and the threats by elements from the extreme right-wing and screened the 18-minute-long Through the Eyes of a Painter.
The solemn exhortations imparted by age-old treatises like the Upanishads are like clapping cymbals for those who choose not to hear.
The argumentative tradition of India is dying. Intolerance, a refusal to engage in discussion, flexing muscles rather than engaging in debate to put across one's views, and stifling the freedom of expression are the trend. More often than not, officialdom too acquiesces to it.
The general tendency against debate and discussion is again highlighted by the chaos, intransigence and obstinacy displayed in Parliament.
Does this augur well for India? Instances of vandalising M.F Husain's paintings, banning the screening of Dam 999, etc., are examples of a gradual move towards intolerance.
The editorial was right in pointing out that the world is one big family. Extremism in any form is dangerous.
V.M. Khaleelur Rahman,
The Maha Upanishad says “… the entire world is one big family.” The Hindu Janjagaran Samiti also belongs to this world family and may have a right to be heard. Would the heavens have fallen if the documentary was not screened?
Col. C.V. Venugopalan (retd.),