Ekta Kapoor, lately under attack by radical forces for her serial 'Jodha-Akbar', has found an ally in filmmaker Sanjay Gupta. Blaming all the producers' guilds of the Mumbai film industry for failing to protect the interests of filmmakers, Sanjay Gupta slams the elected representatives of the film industry for doing what politicians of this country are famous for: vote fibbing.
Director Sanjay Gupta says there is no assurance of safety for Bollywood filmmakers who venture into real themes. Gupta's next directorial venture Mumbai Saga which was all set to tell the real story of Mumbai's rise as a financial hub and crime capital of India, depicting the nexus between crime and politics, would now desist from naming real-life characters.
"My Mumbai Saga will depict real situations and real characters who processed the evolution of the dream-land 'Bombay' into the sinister 'Mumbai' of today, The architects of the city's crime world and their affiliation to politics and politicians would be very clearly depicted in my film. In fact, the opening credits of my film will read the 'claimer'. 'Everything that you're going to see happened on the streets of Mumbai.' The events incidents and characters would be most apparent. But I can't call the characters by their real names."
Gupta says filmmakers in Mumbai are vulnerable to all kinds of legal and criminal attack. "How do we know that when my film is on the verge of release, I won't be bombarded with litigation and threats from the people I name in Mumbai Saga? Look at what's happening to Ekta Kapoor over the serial Jodhaa Akbar. Some protestors from Rajasthan who objected to certain aspects of the serial have decided that all her films should be boycotted. Logically considered, Ekta's interests should be protected by three governments at the Centre, in Maharashtra and in Rajasthan. None of these has come forward to protect Ekta. So what do we do? We cannot risk incurring the wrath of whoever and whichever organizations and individuals decide to get offended by our work. I've no option but to fictionalize the names of the characters."
Gupta finds the producers' guilds of Bollywood to be utter ineffective. "They are a damn joke. The only time I hear from them is when the elections are around the corner. That's when I am flooded with messages asking for my votes. Otherwise where are these guild representatives when our films are in trouble?"
Gupta finds filmmaking on real characters and topical, political issues to be a losing battle in Bollywood. "We filmmakers in Bollywood are isolated individuals fighting our own battles.
As it is, I've to sit with stars' representatives and lawyers to draw up 50-page contracts. Nowadays, actors want every detail legally on paper. Then if I have to deal with litigation during the time of release I'd probably have to give up making films. So thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather find my own means of safeguarding my film from protests and attacks."
So Gupta known to call a spade a spade will resort to tangential references? "My characters are going to be representational, real but not named after real people. The audience today is ten times smarter than us filmmakers. They'll know who the characters are. I couldn't give the real names to gangsters and cops in my Shootout At Wadala. But was there any doubt about who they were?"