Earlier this week, at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Meryl Streep took on Donald Trump and his presidential campaign in her speech after winning a lifetime achievement award. Following this, many wondered why a moment like that would never happen in a Bollywood awards show.
When DNA asked Shabana Azmi this question, she said, “After Meryl spoke out, she got the wholehearted support of the whole Hollywood fraternity. In India, nobody will speak up in support of a celebrity’s political stand for the fear of backlash. There is no chance that Meryl’s films will be boycotted or theatres burned down when her next film is released, because freedom of expression is respected there. Here, we all know what happens.”
“A pact was made between the government and twelve producers that I would be restrained from speaking on the Babri Masjid issue. My film Dharavi was pulled off the theatres, screens showing Fire were vandalised. Nandita Das and I were removed from Water after we had shaved off our heads,” she added.
However these attempts to deter her spirit didn’t work .She further explained, “Freedom of expression is the hallmark of a democracy. When a hue and cry was made about the staging of Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy, I was the only person who stood up in Parliament and said it should be allowed to play because it had the valid certification. Holding onto a principle even when you disagree with the contents is the true test.”
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