Afternoon Voice

“Artistes will always fight for freedom of expression”

Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta swears by Tony Morrison’s famous quote, “All art is political” and says artistes across the world will always fight for freedom of expression, trying not to succumb to “self-censorship.”

Mehta has been behind some of the most well received films of in the past two decades such as “Earth”, “Fire” and “Water”, the last two of which courted huge controversy in the India.

At a time such as today, where there is a clamp down of independent voices and a culture of intolerance, Mehta says art and culture gain extreme importance.

“But it is not just these times. In times of even perceived peace that writers and filmmakers have an opportunity to reflect the times. They are, from a very personal point, a mirror as to what is happening in the society. So it is always good to read or watch what is happening around us,” she says.

While artistes can put up a fight to voice what they feel through their art, there could also be a looming fear in doing so.

“You can get scared, depending on the climate. You have to be aware. But I think there is something really tragic about self-censorship. I am not an advocate of that. But, it (art) is not made for the sake of making trouble. Nobody goes out and says I will make a statement which will court problems and get me in a controversy. That defeats the purpose,” Mehta adds.