No shooting for 15 mins across India today

As a mark of solidarity with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversy-hit "Padmavati", hundreds of people - from filmmakers to workers - across the country have announced a 15-minute blackout on Sunday.

The Indian Films and TV Directors' Association (IFTDA), along with 19 other bodies of the film and television industry from across the country will stop shooting for 15 minutes to protect the right to freedom of expression of those in the creative field.

Organisations such as Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA), Western India Cinematographers Association, Screen Writers Association, The Film and Television Producers Guild of India Limited, Association of Voice Artistes, Cine Costume & Make-up Artiste and Hair Dressers Association, Cine Singer Association, Movie Stunt Artistes Association, among others will participate in the protest called "Main Azaad Hoon?" (Am I free?) at Film City here, starting at 3.30 pm on Sunday.

"Over 600-700 people from the entire film industry in India from filmmakers to writers, workers, make-up men will come together in support of 'Padmavati'.

"All shoots across India will be halted from 4.15 pm to 4.30 pm. Through this protest we are trying to say let us know - Are we free people? Are we living in a democratic country?" filmmaker and IFTDA convenor, Ashoke Pandit said.

"Padmavati" has been facing the ire of various Rajput groups and political leaders, who have accused the director of "distorting historical facts".

Referring to the country-wide agitation against the film, Pandit said if a "great filmmaker" like Bhansali can be threatened for exercising creative freedom, it can happen with anyone in the fraternity.

"We are creators of cinema... art. We are educators, we contribute towards the betterment of the country. There are stars supporting various causes (of the government). We stand by them, whenever there is a need. We are hurt with what is happening with 'Padmavati', we are (being) ill-treated, we feel we are living like orphans in this country," he says.

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