Bollywood directors take dim view of freedom ...

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By Manissha Despaande, Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, (IANS) Have we achieved freedom in the true sense of the word? Six new generation filmmakers speak out on their concept of freedom and what it means to them this 59th independence anniversary.

While Ashok Pandit says grimly that the reality is that fear looms in the mind of every citizen, Ananth Mahadevan says the freedom that the people cherish today has come at a very high price, reports Bollywood Trade. Others too take a pessimistic view of the issue.

Here is what they have to say:

Kunal Kohli - I think we have a long way to go before we actually achieve freedom. A case in point is how Aamir Khan and the people connected to him, were censured during the release of "Fanaah", simply because he chose to voice his opinion on a particularly important issue. We are definitely not free if an honest citizen of the country is not allowed to speak his mind.

On the other hand, freedom in this country exists only for those who wield power in political circles. The political lobby is making the best of its freedom while the common man continues to live in fear.

Ashok Pandit - What freedom are we talking about when the prime minister of our country is forced to hide under a bullet-proof glass in order to address the nation? There's fear looming in the mind of every citizen of this country that he might just end up in a blast while travelling on the road. Security men are forced to frisk innocent people at airports suspecting them to be probable terrorists. Is this freedom? The freedom that we all cherish is just a big farce. The reality is that the country is sold to terrorism and it is dying a gradual death.

Anant Mahadevan - The freedom that we are cherishing today seems to have come at a very high price. It is like buying a very expensive thing and realising that you'd have been better off without it. I remember Lord Mountbatten's words while leaving the country when he said that the citizens of this country would be taxed even for the air they breathe in the future.

Today, we are all victims of a non-functioning and indifferent system governed by self-centred politicians who are busy filling their own coffers at the cost of the masses. It is like saying we are free but there is a bigger enemy within, who is killing us every day. If this is the kind of freedom we were seeking, we'd have been better off with the British Raj."

Tanuja Chandra - I don't think we have really achieved freedom. I think we are prisoners of our own outdated thoughts and beliefs. If we have to progress like the Japanese did, we have to get rid of non-issues like morality, values, tradition and culture and start thinking of hardcore work. Unfortunately, most of our country's talent is wasted in focusing on religious differences and issues that hardly matter to progress. Our political leaders are further misleading the youth by fuelling their differences. It is time we got down to work and thought of only becoming the best.

Rohit Shetty - I do feel that freedom of expression is very important especially to creative people like filmmakers and writers. It is thanks to our freedom that we can openly voice our dissents against politicians or for that matter make a bold film like "Rang De Basanti". But if we think about day-to-day life, 'freedom' is a very relative term. A majority of people in high places, especially politicians, are misusing their freedom, while the common man continues to live in a fear psychosis. It is a case of freedom in excess. Today people in high places can get away with anything under the name of freedom and democracy.

Suneel Darshan - I am very optimistic about freedom, despite the recent blasts which created a wave of panic among the people. I think our country is opening up in a big way economically and presenting new opportunities to each of us. The education and demography is also changing so is our perception of the world. What we need to do to really surge ahead is get rid of our crab mentality and think of bigger goals. As a filmmaker though, I feel excess freedom is being misused with pirates have a field day getting away with crime. That's a second side to freedom."

What do you think of freedom in India? Comment below!