PUNE: Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and actress Kirti Kulhari were in the city to promote their film Indu Sarkar, but had to cancel plans to visit a city-based educational institute after facing a strong protest from city Congress workers.
The incident took place on Saturday afternoon after Congress city workers gathered at the hotel where the duo had arrived and demanded to meet him. However, Bhandarkar chose not to meet them and informed the police that he was not in a state of mind to meet the Congress workers. While speaking to Sakal Times, Bhandarkar said that he was upset and remarked that this was not the way democracy functions. Bhandarkar told Sakal Times that his film is not about a personality or docu-drama.
Around 150 Congress workers continued to raise slogans against the filmmaker and waited for almost four hours for the filmmaker to meet them.
The filmmaker has been facing a backlash from various Congress leaders who have expressed their displeasure about the film that revolves around the 1975 Emergency. The city Congress workers claimed that Bhandarkar has portrayed former prime minister Indira Gandhi in a bad light. The workers then demanded that Bhandarkar should hold the screening of the film for Congress party after which, they will allow its release.
Dr Pravin Mundhe, DCP, Zone II, who arrived at the spot, said, “The Congress city workers had not taken any permission from us for the protest. We spoke to Bhandarkar, who said that he is not in the frame of mind to meet the workers and we have conveyed the message to them. We will take action against those who are protesting here.”
Bhandarkar said, “I am appalled with the kind of protest happening and very upset too. There are so many books and documentaries written on an emergency, they haven’t protested against them. Why are they protesting against my film.”
“My film is based on Emergency and I have not shown anyone in a bad light. Let them first watch the film and decide. This is the first time something like this has happened,” he added. Bhandarkar said that Kirti and he were on the way to the college when he got the news of the protest.
WHAT THE CONGRESS SAYS
- According to Congress City Unit Chief Ramesh Bagwe, the party workers wanted to ask Bhandarkar about his alleged character assassination of Indira Gandhi in his upcoming film ‘Indu Sarkar’. However, after the filmmaker refused to meet them, they protested outside the hotel and blocked his exit.
- “The way the filmmaker has done the character assassination of Indira Gandhi and the way it is being circulated through social media, is highly unacceptable to us,” Ramesh Bagwe told reporters.
- However, the city police detained the Congress workers for agitating without taking prior permission from police. The Congress workers were soon released after being taken to Koregaon Park police chowky.