Not correct that Deepika, others were threatened: Union Minister Babul Supriyo tells WION on Padmavati

New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Nov 23, 2017, 04:34 PM(IST)

Babul Supriyo. Photograph:( AFP )

Celebrated Bollywood singer and Minister of State Babul Supriyo spoke to WION’s Kartikeya Sharma about the Padmavati controversy. 

Supriyo said violence and threats to filmmakers are unacceptable, and that he hopes the film will be released soon. 

He also spoke about the Gujarat elections. 

Sir, how do you view the Padmavati controversy?

Creative freedom exists in our country. The entire noise which exists around the film Padmavati is not desirable and lot of people have taken freedom of speech for granted. Whatever has happened is sad and shouldn’t have happened. Obviously CBFC is seized of the matter. IB ministry has made it very clear that matter should be left to CBFC. Controversies like these invites people to make comments out of turn. Only way to resolve the issue is through process and dialogue.

Is it one of creative freedom? 

That is fair enough. I cannot give you an answer from an extreme point of view. Let’s take Padmavati aside for a moment. The debate on artistic freedom has been age-old worldwide. In France, a piece of art became controversial and it was moved. The debate about good cinema and bad cinema continues. Padmavati is a huge film. There are many people who want to see the film but there are some question marks on it too. People who have not seen the film are raising the questions. There are apprehensions and I feel dialogue is the way forward. We can celebrate the life of the queen without hurting the sentiment which also needs to be looked into.

Deepika Padukone and other actors are being threatened?

That’s not correct. Deepika is just an artist who portrayed the character. She did what she was asked for. Film is a director’s medium. Threats are deplorable and no one subscribes to it. Deepika Padukone is a loved artist. The law of the land applies to everyone. There were lot of controversies around Ae Dil Hai Mushkil that subsequently got resolved. I’m sure this too shall be resolved despite all the noise. It is going to find a good closure.

Do you think bans work in the age of the internet?

I would say that let process take its course. Even if CBFC doesn’t agree, filmmakers will still have tribunals to look into the issue. People have the liberty to approach other bodies. Artistic disagreements can happen with the CBFC and other bodies. I think it should be resolved peacefully. Music is about peace as it provides reprieve from the grind of daily life. I just hope that at the end, good for everyone shall prevail.

Should films be judged from the position of a community’s honour?

The CBFC has to do the job. Life is not what is happening to you but how you react to it. Film is a huge process. Any good form of art it goes through its metamorphosis. I’m sure it will find its own way to reach people. As an artist, I pray for it and don’t want to take sides by adding fuel to the fire. For an example, with Hussain there were many controversies and I would see him at Lokhandwala but no one would attack him. We aren’t living a dream. People have their own apprehensions but I hope Padmavati reaches people in most beautiful manner. Cinema is about beauty.  

Is the BJP well placed in Gujarat?

I’m certain that BJP will surmount problems in Gujarat. Unless and until you move into a house you cannot decide what to do with it. GST is only having teething problems which is being addressed properly and at regular intervals. GST is the biggest reform. The debate will continue. If you don’t bring larger section into the tax net it would not work in future for India. Modi has belled the cat and shown the courage to take reform agenda forward. Lot of praise should go to the Prime Minister Modi. We will win Gujarat. The debate only makes the follow-up of the election very interesting.

How do you view Rahul Gandhi’s campaign. The Centre's economic policies have become an issue...

If Rahul Gandhi choses to take the side of the tax evaders, he will obviously find support. Lot of people wouldn’t like to pay taxes. But lot of people also pay taxes. Honest people pay taxes. They pay taxes for the country as poor needs to be subsidised. The government needs to meet those goals. Rahul has a lineage and people will listen to him. But he is confusing people. All state elections in past have shown that the mandate has been for Modi. Congress, by promising reservations to Patels, is akin to fooling people as our senior leadership has pointed out.

Why couldn’t this be solved by the local BJP leadership?

In a party, you cannot have six or seven Narendra Modi. He is the biggest leader and he will be at the centre stage. His move to centre from the state has not weakened the state unit. His vision is being implemented. You cannot have his replacement yet others are doing their job. He will be missed in key areas in the state but it doesn’t mean that job is not being done.

Why is the BJP importing leaders like Mukul Roy from other parties?

Lot of people are getting convinced by our ideology. What is wrong in people joining us. People change with times and get attracted to other ideologies. Don’t people in corporates move. Don’t people want to do better in life. Coming to BJP is a promotion and I welcome them. When you are trying to do better in life then the better place to go is BJP. They are doing the right thing.

What were the hits and misses of the BJP campaign in West Bengal?

TMC and Left for a long period of time have practised different kind of politics. In remote areas, they have done nothing. Votes were purchased. 100 rupees also make a difference in some areas. They have given cycles in the name of government schemes.

But the BJP was not able to turn its support into seats?

BJP has not been traditionally present in West Bengal. It was Left and Congress and then TMC. We are taking steps. Mamata, out of 30 minutes, spends majority of time attacking BJP. We will do very well in 2019. We have the space in West Bengal.

Is the BJP prepared for the 2019 elections?

There will be few hits and misses but in the end, we will come out stronger. Our party has done exceedingly well under the Prime Minister. The reform agenda will continue.

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