Free Speech Big B: ‘Even now, civil liberties are in question’: Amitabh Bachchan – Flying Journals


As the silver screen increasingly becomes a battleground for different political ideologies, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan discusses British censorship, pre-independence anti-oppressor cinema at length today at the opening of the Kolkata International Film Festival , communism and social solidarity.

The 80-year-old, who is known for avoiding controversy, then made rare comments on politically sensitive issues such as civil liberties and free speech.

“Even now, I’m sure my colleagues on stage would agree with people raising questions about civil liberties and freedom of speech,” Mr Bachchan said.

He shares the stage with Shah Rukh Khan, whose film “Patan” has become the latest target of the Boycott Club.

In his speech, Mr Khan sent a positive message. Regarding the toxic culture of social media, he said it was “driven by a certain narrow view that limits humanity to its baser selves”.

“I read somewhere that negativity increases social media consumption and thus its commercial value. This pursuit surrounds the collective narrative, making it divisive and destructive”

“We’re all happy and I’m the happiest. I can say without hesitation that no matter what the world holds, me and you, and all the positive people in the world, are alive,” he added.

Mr. Bachchan raved about his speech, saying, “I salute your artistic ethos for embracing diversity and equality”.

The Kolkata film festival – known for its enthusiastic moviegoers – kicked off after the “Kashmir Files” controversy overshadowed the Goa International Film Festival.

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who was one of the jury members, said the jury found “The Kashmir Files” a “vulgar film” that carried “propaganda”. His remarks were slammed by all parties, including Israel’s special envoy to India, Nargiron.

He ultimately got the side of the jury, who said the entire jury knew and agreed with Mr. Lapid about the film.

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