Aparna Sen: Ghawre Baire Aaj most political film of my career

With the film, Aparna Sen said, she has tried to present the arguments of both the right and the left on the issue of Gauri Lankesh murder

New Delhi: Filmmaker Aparna Sen has said her film Ghawre Baire Aaj, an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Ghare Baire, is her most “political and outspoken” work till date and talks about the silencing of “moderate voices”.

The famed Bengali filmmaker, known for films such as 36 Chowringhee Lane, Mr and Mrs Iyer, The Japanese Wife and Iti Mrinalini, said she wanted to initiate a “sane debate” with the movie.

The story, previously adapted by Satyajit Ray into a 1984 movie, revolves around three protagonists, one of whom is loosely based on slain journalist Gauri Lankesh.

“The characters are not based on real-life people, except for the character of Nikhilesh, who is vaguely and loosely based on Gauri Lankesh. Before that the murders of Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi and all of them. Everyone who has tried to be moderate has been silenced by somebody or the other.

“It is not necessarily the Hindutva voices, it is the Islamic fundamentalist who silences the moderate voices. Any kind of fundamentalism silences the voices of reason and moderation. That is a big concern and should concern anyone who has a regard for a healthy democracy,” Sen told film critic Rajeev Masand during a panel discussion at the Jagran Film Festival.

With the film, Aparna said, she has tried to present the arguments of both the right and the left: “I have tried to give two sides of the argument the rightist and the leftist. I have not tried to give only one side. What I hope is that it will provoke is a sane debate. A sane, rational debate. I hate being shrill or preachy. But I hope that this film will give rise to a debate in a sane way.” She said it is imperative for a healthy democracy to have a strong opposition to the government.

“It is the most political film I have made. It is the most honest and outspoken film. For me, it is important to have a strong opposition. If the actual political opposition cannot get together, then I think there has to be a civilian opposition because that’s the only way a healthy democracy can function,” Aparna said.

Aparna said her film does not “belittle” anyone or is preachy in tone.

“Like Mr and Mrs Iyer’, it is about how the outside world affects the home. That is the Tagore story too. How the outside world impinges on the domestic scene. But yes I see it as a political film.”

Sen believes it is the responsibility of the people to be involved in the State of affairs in the country.

“If necessary, protest. If necessary, applaud. It is not always about being critical. One should applaud when something good happens like Jal Shakti Ministry… Conservation of precious commodity, water, is an important step.

“We have chosen our leaders but are they doing what we want them to do? I think it is our responsibility to develop the ability to say that ‘this is wrong’ or ‘this is right’, she added.

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