You can't distort history, but can reimagine it: Anjum Rajabali

You can't distort history, but can reimagine it: Anjum Rajabali

You can't distort history, but can reimagine it: Anjum Rajabali

Bollywood screenwriter Anjum Rajabali feels filmmakers do have the liberty to "reimagine" history without completely distorting it while making a movie.

Recently, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmavati" faced the ire of certain groups who attacked the filmmaker and also damaged the film's set in two separate incidents for allegedly deviating from history over the depiction of queen Padmavati.

Anjum was speaking at the 18th edition of FICCI Frames 2017 on topic 'Brave voices: Screenwriters who are changing the game'. When asked if it is okay for writers to take creative liberties while depicting historical characters, Anjum says, "Do I believe history should be distorted? No.

"But, can you reimagine history, can you talk about people's private thoughts, what may have happened in their personal space? Yes. That's exactly what storytelling in biopics is all about," he adds.

Anjum, who has written films like "Ghulam", "Apaharan" and "Raajneeti", says there is much debate among historians over the existence of Padmavati and one should be cautious of "prejudging" the movie Bhansali is making.

"In this particular case, I would say we should be cautious of prejudging it. There is genuinely a debate among historians about the character Padmavati. There are palaces in the names of several mythical characters, but there is still a continuing debate if they were there or not."

Anjum, who also wrote "The Legend of Bhagat Singh", says the film's team was accountable while making the biopic on the freedom fighter.

"If you're doing something on anybody's history, one has to take pains to ensure there is an authenticity and yet as a storyteller you are allowed to reimagine that without distorting it.

"When we were doing something on Bhagat Singh we were accountable to that. But at the same time if there are certain dilemmas, doubts, contrary feelings that we may have had, you can imagine that within the framework of what he (Singh) was as a historical figure," he says.

Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh, who wrote last year's hit "Neerja", says the political climate in the country is something, which crosses her mind while penning a script.

"If I start something new, I will definitely think about the political scenario and which state in the country I am setting the film. Because I want to tell my story, I will have to protect myself by placing it smarty. I have to do that otherwise nobody is going to let me make my film.

"If the studio backs me, the government will stall me. Karan Johar has to go and apologise, he is a big producer. The smaller producers are struggling with the same thing. I am wary of the political scenario we are writing in," she adds.

Rucha Pathak, CEO, Fox Star Studios, feels much of the problem is that nobody takes film industry seriously.

"Everybody will speak but I don't think anybody is listening. I think people feel it is entertainment, and therefore, it can be a casualty amongst everything that's going on. Sadly, people don't take the film industry seriously," laments Pathak.

"The film industry is a fairly easy target now. Yet, it is so ironical that we are not taken seriously. We have people who are vocal about important issues affecting the industry but there is no forum for figuring out how to solve the problems."

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