An open letter to Gurvinder Singh, the director of the Punjabi film "Chauthi Koot"

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Dear Gurvinder,

I hope that by now you would have regained your composure. I still have no clue how you reached the conclusion that my film blog A Potpourri of Vestiges is running with the support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Pray tell, as a free citizen of a democratic republic, am I not at liberty to praise my own Prime Minister? Can’t I speak my heart out on issues of national and international importance on my very own facebook timeline? Does it make me an RSS agent if I acknowledge the statesmanship and salesmanship of PM Modi? But, what does that make of you? Well, there are those around who wouldn’t think twice before labeling you as leftist or pseudo-secular. Fortunately, I know better than that! I don’t like to jump to conclusions. It is very easy to attack people. Defending oneself takes a lot of courage. And, it is even easier to generalize things. We do it all the time. You read something on my timeline and didn’t even think twice before jumping to your own lame conclusions. I must say that you have a very good imagination. No wonder, you are so committed to the cinematic art! Now, I myself am a great admirer of your art. As a filmmaker, one primarily deals with ideas; persons are secondary. And, yet, you were so categorical in your censure of Prime Minister Modi. In your fit of anger, you described me as “a part of this brainwashed section”. I don’t know about you but it sounds like utter nonsense to me!

For your information, I have been writing on cinema for over seven years as an independent film critic and my articles get featured across various reputed forums, national as well as international. I have written about Indian as well as international cinema. And, my approach to cinema is universal. I don’t like limiting myself by any particular ideology or school of thought. I enjoy Ghatak and Sen as much as I enjoy Ray. Can’t one see and appreciate different sides without adhering to any side in particular? I am as apolitical as it gets. Besides, a person’s political ideology is a person’s own concern. Why should it upset an artist of your stature? Which brings me to your decision to un-friend me on facebook. Well, of course, it your prerogative! You left in such high dudgeon that you didn’t even give me a chance to offer an explanation. Not that I think it would have made any difference. It is not always easy to control one’s anger. But, at the same time, it’s our responsibility to maintain our composure, especially in our public life. That way we can stay focused on our work, away from gossips and controversies!

Filmmaker Gurvinder Singh's remarks in response to my original facebook post about PM Modi
Now, we haven’t even met in person and are merely acquaintances. I would rather want to describe myself as an admirer of your art. Can't I be an admirer of your craft without adhering to your political ideologies? The trailer of your film Chauthi Koot had filled my heart with great joy. And then my good friend and filmmaker Roopa Barua, who was covering the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for my blog, watched your film and spoke very highly of it. She sent across a very encouraging review which I immediately published in my blog. It was well past midnight but I decided to publish it right away as I was so proud and excited to hear about a young and upcoming Indian filmmaker creating great buzz at Cannes. I wonder what does that make of me? Perhaps, a jingoist! 

My original facebook post about PM Modi
Alas, now, you are so upset with me that you want me to remove the review of your film, written by a third person, from my blog! I simply have no idea how to react. You are asking me to take down the review of your film as if it were you who had sponsored it to be placed on my blog in the first place. Come to think of it, it sounds both annoying and confusing at the same time. I am simply perplexed by your sudden burst of emotions. I get that that you share a strong bond with the FTII and have some major issues with the functioning of the current government. But, does that give you the right to start your own witch-hunt? Do you want to be the judge and the jury yourself? If you have disagreements then there are various platforms and ways to get that registered. These emotional bursts wouldn’t get you anywhere. Why don’t you think of a better way of channelizing your energy? Instead of criticizing the Prime Minister and the government through your highly subjective and vague remarks, why don’t you use a proper channel to spread awareness about your cause? I don’t think that I need to remind you that you are not a powerless man. You have at your disposal the enormous power of cinema. Why don’t you make it count… instead of just losing your temper?

Yours sincerely,

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your insightful comments are highly appreciated!

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  1. well, it cant be a better reply. Hope he will understand. N if not, then must say, as a person he must be in the same category as Mohan Bhagwat

  2. Well, I think that we should not let our political ideologies get the better of us!


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