Posted in Movies - General, Politics - General

Eulogy for Artistic Freedom

I have many things to say.  As the reader in you can guess, it is all about Vishwaroopam.

Before I start venting out, I would like to state for the record that I have seen the movie twice – in a sub-standard movie hall with no Auro 3D sound effects.

But I have seen the movie. Twice.

In what should have been a 2 part review of the movie I was planning on sharing here on my blog,  this now has to be more of an eulogy.

Eulogy for the great Thamizh artistic freedom.

Eulogy for the progressive Thamizh culture.

Eulogy for quite a few things that I was proud of associating myself with Thamizh Nadu.

Except that I am singing eulogy for all of the above with a hope that they will resurrect some time in future, even though they are dead for now.

Even if the political powers be (however megalomaniacal they are), somehow miraculously change their minds tomorrow and every hurdle is set aside for a smooth sailing of the movie, the scars that were incurred in the past one week or so will forever go down in the history of Thamizh artistic annals as something the Thamizh populace should be ashamed of.

Thamizh Artistic Freedom

How many times have we seen the Thamizh cinema push the envelope within the boundaries of Indian movie industry? Quite often.

Be it the 50s/60s when Arignar Anna & Kalaignar Karunanidhi, with the able support of thespians like Late Sivaji Ganesan, SSR, MGR, MS Viswanathan, Kannadasan, etc. had the freedom to express their rational and atheistic ideologies through socially relevant stories of the era and music they had created and the characters they developed or…

Be it the 70s/80s when K Balachandar, Bharathiraja, Mahendran, Balu Mahendra, etc., with the able support of a new generation of actors in the form of Kamal, Rajini, Sri Devi (to name a few) and music directors like Ilayaraja, had the freedom to develop highly individualistic women characters, a novel way of story telling and a new dimension in film music which were never seen/heard before…or..

Be it the 90s/00s when Mani Ratnam, Shankar, Gautham Menon and many more new gen Directors, with the able support of a revolutionary musical genius in the form of AR Rahman and poets like Vairamuthu, were literally able to take Thamizh movies to a nationally inspiring & envious level…or…

Be it the many writers and poets, who over the last 6 decades made such a huge impact in the literary world without any threat from any individual or communal forces that came between them and their creativity…

Thamizh artistic was never at risk. Never questioned and never threatened.

Progressive Thamizh Culture

My biggest pride of being a Thamizhian comes from the fact that the state is the only state which patronized atheistic leaders right from the 60s. Contrast that to 2013, when even in America, a Presidential candidate has to go out of his/her way to associate themselves with a church (yes, church). I had always taken immense pride in highlighting this progressive mentality of the Thamizh culture.
Jayalaitha was the first woman chief minister to be elected to office in the country, as far as I know..
And a few more…

Will they resurrect?

Without getting into the details, it is enough to say that what has happened to an individual artist like Kamal Haasan is a shame. A shame of the tallest order a state can punish an artist with. Questioning his secular intentions (when he is a self-proclaimed atheist), Questioning his integrity, Backstabbing him by instigating a few fringe groups and by simply trying to ostracize the man, what the Thamizh Nadu government is currently doing is state sponsored terrorism. In the process they have managed to kill all of the above – Artistic freedom, Progressive culture and Secularism. How? All by making a mockery of the judicial system. Now the question is when will they resurrect? Will we be able to resurrect them?

So Here I am with a hope that we will be able to resurrect all of the above.
But an eulogy is a must.

We deserve more.

The state deserves more.

The people deserve more.

And most importantly Kamal Haasan deserves more.

By the way, I  have already seen the movie Vishwaroopam in theaters.  Twice.

[Right. I said that already…]