Why is Justice Katju against the film Pathan?

justice markandey katju
justice markandey katju

The real objection to the film Pathan

By Justice Markandey Katju

Protests are going on all over India against the film Pathan by right-wing Hindu organisations and individuals, who say that depicting Deepika Padukone in a saffron-coloured bikini hurt Hindu sentiments. The social media is flooded with them.

These protests show the degree of stupidity and saffronisation in the country, to which I am strongly opposed.

However, I would like to present a different viewpoint.

To my mind, in a poor country like India, films, like other forms of art, should have some social relevance, like many films of Raj Kapoor e.g. Awaara, Boot Polish, Shri 420, Jagte Raho, Anaari, etc or the films of Charlie Chaplin, Sergei Eisenstein, or Akira Kurosawa, and should not be only escapism, taking viewers into a world of make believe. India is passing through a very difficult and painful patch in our history, we are embroiled in massive poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of healthcare, skyrocketing prices, etc and so our films should deal with some social issues, and not be just to provide entertainment.

Unfortunately, most of our films nowadays, including Pathan, depict only fantasies, and thus act as an opium of the masses, to divert public attention from our real issues, and give a short temporary relief from their miseries to the people, like a drug or other intoxicant. That is the real objection to Pathan, not the rants of the right wing bigots.

About the Author

Justice Markandey Katju
Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman of the Press Council of India. He is the founder and patron of the Indian Reunification Association (IRA), an organisation that advocates for the peaceful reunification of what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh with India under a secular government.