Tamil News

Artistes Are Being Threatened In A Country That Got Its Freedom From Non-Violence: Arvind Swamy At The Opening Ceremony Of CIFF

The 15th edition of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) started on a fiery note. Actor Arvind Swamy, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function of the film festival, said that threats against artistes are increasing with the country forgetting that got its freedom from a non-violence movement.


“In recent times, any expression of art always seems to evoke a rather violent response from some sections, calling for a ban, rework or censorship – those voices are getting louder and louder. It’s also bordering on threats and violence, which is unfortunate in a country that got its freedom from non-violence, which encourages you to imbibe tolerance and has even inspired other leaders to fight for equality in other parts of the world,” he said.

He also said that two thousand years ago, Vatsyayana wrote the Kama Sutra yet the film industry still struggles to shoot or depict a kissing scene for fear of censorship and certification.


“Though the Kama Sutra addressed many topics, what it is best known for is the work on sex and sexuality. Two thousand years later, we struggle to shoot or depict a kissing scene in films in Tamil Nadu for fear of censorship and certification. During my growing years I saw many wonderful Tamil movies. But in retrospect, a lot of the commercial films depicted violence against women more. We never saw a scene of people in love kissing or making love. But we always saw violence, mostly against women. That is how I can look back, I don’t know why it has become such a taboo,” he said.

The actor ended his speech with a rather rhetoric question. “My only question would be – is your belief so fragile that you are scared of art destroying or disrupting it?,” he said.

Suhasini Maniratnam, who is one of the core committee members of the film festival, drew attention towards the lack of funds or assistance from the state government towards CIFF. She pointed out that the Karnataka government gives Rs 10 crores to fund film festivals there and said that CIFF needs go beyond just screening of films and also include interactive sessions – something that pales in comparison to the other film festivals around India.

The film was officially declared open at the Kalaivanar Arangam auditorium in the presence of Thangaraj – ICAF’s General Secretary Thangaraj, Charles Chao – Director General Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in Chennai, May Kent – US Consulate, Sean Kelly – Consul General to South India, Australia, Kannan – President of ICAF, Pierre – Director of Alliance Francaise, Helmut Schippert, Director of Goethe – Institut/Max-Mueller Bhavan, Achim Baig – German Consulate General, Yang – Deputy Director Korean Cultural Centre, and actors Arvind Swamy and Suhasini Maniratnam.

The CIFF will go on till 21 December, showcasing over 140 movies in five venues. Tickets for the films are available on BookMyShow. For the festival schedule, visit: chennaifilmfest.com.