Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Apology Says A Lot About 21st Century India

Congrats, people. We’ve once again bullied another artist into submission with our non-existent feelings that get hurt at every single thing.


India’s social fabric is dominated by two threads that hold it together – Cricket and Bollywood. In Cricket, we’ve seen Sachin’s notorious tennis elbow which time and again kept the greatest player of all time on the sidelines. It was annoying and forced Sachin away from the game for long periods of time.

There’s a similar injury that plagues Bollywood right now. It’s called ‘feelings’. Every time a director dares to take a bit of creative liberty and talk about something that doesn’t align itself with the chest-thumping ideologues of our society, all hell breaks lose.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the latest casualty of the hurt emotions of a handful of individuals.

In a country obsessed with taking science after class X and going for a sarkaari naukri, our understanding of arts is extremely limited.

Artistic expression is an alien concept for us. How dare someone try and recreate something so familiar to us? If an event/a person isn’t depicted exactly how we’ve imagined, that becomes a problem. Do we try and fight that with our own artistic expression? No. (Putting black ink on a poster doesn’t qualify as art, guys!)

A huge section of our country is artistically inadept at handling this. We can’t create things, and therefore, we destroy them.

Our collective inferiority complex has convinced us that resorting to violence is fine.

India is still obsessed with the sone ki chidiya narrative because let’s face it, the present sucks and the future looks bleak. This narrative of a glorious past is peddled right from the childhood and most kids grow up to be chest-thumping, fact-denying brainless adults who wouldn’t accept an alternative fact.

With violence being normalised in our society, some people have taken this for granted. We bully people on social media, but when that doesn’t yield any result; we physically assault them to prove our superiority and to compensate for something that averages around five and a half inch in length.

This culture of violence has muffled the voices of artists in our country.

Artists are human beings who want to contribute to the society in their own way. Once they’ve been harrassed and bullied over something, they often trace back their steps and give in to the pressure. Is that an admission of guilt? Absolutely not. They just want their art and families to be safe and with the growing air of intolerance in our country, that seems questionable.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is one of the finest filmmakers of our generation. His movies have often sparked a lot of discussion regarding symbolism and astute story-telling. He has made a lot of fans across the globe.

When the fringe groups first started their campaign against Padmavati, the government was quick to wash its hands from this controversy. The current government is not the only culprit here. Time and again, governments have banned movies, books and songs because a certain group got its feelings hurt and couldn’t put on big-boy diapers.

With almost no backing from the government, artists are unable to hold their ground and back their movies. Our governments are supposed to protect us and not to act as proxy-supporters of these groups.

So the next time you see a Meryl Streep talk about the status quo on a stage and then find yourself thinking why Indian celebrities are afraid to do so; remember that we’ve bullied Sanjay Leela Bhansali and countless other celebrities everytime they said something contrary to our beliefs.

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Supriyo Mukherjee

If you can dream it, Supriyo can definitely meme it.

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