This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
"When a filmmaker is trying to redefine entertainment, create new language, trying to redefine storytelling, he should at least have moral support," said Irrfan Khan in a video interview with Faridoon Shahryar. Irrfan clearly spelt out his views on the unfair treatment meted out to The Lunchbox by the Committee deciding India's entry to the Oscars. "The way you censor things should be relooked," he said and expressed reservations with the way we approach censorship in India. Also, with the new Censor Board (under controversial circumstances) in place, can a film like Haider get cleared if it were to release today?
The Lunchbox has got recognition at the BAFTA; it is one of the biggest commercial successes worldwide. It wasn't considered as India's entry to the Oscars. Wasn't it unfair?
Some powerful people within the film industry should come together and challenge this body. Who are these people? I don't know what body is this which declares that this is the film for Oscars. Are they legitimate? It is not a healthy way. There is a dialogue in Birdman, "Man who couldn't go into the Force becomes an informer, man who couldn't perform becomes a Critic."
So the tussle between actors and critics continues…
(Laughs) It's not there. I am mentioning the dialogue from a movie.
But filmmakers and actors love to pinpoint that you couldn't become a performer that's why you became a Critic… (Laughs)
There are Critics who are doing wonderful things. They have insight and passion for cinema and that's why they are writing. People who were judging The Lunchbox, they had some personal agenda. Somebody leaked a video and you know who did what. I don't have any personal grudge. When a filmmaker is trying to redefine entertainment, create new language, trying to redefine storytelling, he should at least have moral support. In Hollywood, Scorsese, Coppola supported each other; they were not insecure of each other.
New Censor Board has come into the picture after the MSG controversy. Do you feel the Government should take the film industry more seriously and there should be more thought in the idea of Censoring itself?
The classification is primitive. It exists in other countries. The way you censor things should be relooked. It will be a really sad state if filmmakers, story tellers are curbed. I don't know how far system can do that. But if it happens then we are living in regressive times. On the Net you have so much of obscene, filthy stuff going on influencing the young generation. There is Porn on internet; you don't have a problem with that. There are songs which are titillating, demeaning for a gender, which are reactionary, those songs are allowed. You don't know how to look at things. We have more means to express these days with social media, it will be very difficult (for them) to promote such stuff.
Many people said that with a film like Haider releasing in India, it is the victory of Indian democracy.
That's great. If that's where our Democracy is going then that's a great sign, if it's not, then we are in trouble.
Question marks are being raised that what if a film like Haider has to release now. It's a bit of a scary feeling.
We have to see how the present Censor Board reacts to different films. We still don't know. Some film has to come and we have to see their doubts.