The Censor Board is supposed to be an independent body. It is very unfortunate that politicians meddle in the affairs of the Board and use it as a tool to propagate their agenda, said veteran filmmaker Mani Ratnam.
Mani, who was taking part in an interactive session with his fans at the eighth edition of the Bengaluru International Film Festival, was critical of the government. "The censor board sometimes gets governed by the ruling party. Movies go into politicians hands and get shelved, which is very sad," he observed. "I think it is high time we reviewed the archaic form of censorship too," he added.
Mani is hopeful that things will improve as Shyam Bengal has been appointed the head of the committee to revamp the Board. "I'm glad that Kamal Haasan is also there in the committee set up by the government to look into the functioning of the censor board," he said.
During the session. which went on for one and a half hours, Mani recalled how he had emerged stronger and wiser, after the initial years of struggles and hardships. "As a young film maker, I have gone through all kinds of troubles. I approached several producers with the script of Mouna Ragam, it was turned down," Mani reminisced. However, he believes that those experiences and the first movies gave him a lot of clarity about himself.
The interaction was a dream come true for many of Mani's fans. Nirmal R, fan, requested for five minutes of his time after the session. In a truly filmy style, inspired by Abhishek Bachchan in Guru, Nirmal said, "Give me five minutes. I'll finish it in four minutes and give you one minute back." Mani advised Nirmal to do short films and put them up on YouTube, when Nirmal requested the director to make him an assistant director. "I think you can learn more by making short films than by being an assistant director," he said. Another fan Surya Bharathi had a humble request. He wanted Mani to utter his name once.
Mani had a word of advice for aspiring film makers. "If you want to make films, you can't be afraid of adversities. You have to learn to ignore criticism," he said.