Ali Abbas Zafar salutes era of self-censorship to avoid trolls: ‘People are very sensitive these days’

Filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar, who has directed films such as Jogi, Sultan and Bharat, recently said that as we live in sensitive times, filmmakers and content creators should impose self-censorship to avoid trolling. That Gunday director was asked about the boycott culture and whether it is manufactured or organic and he said that “there is no smoke without fire”.

In a chat with Connect FM Canada, Ali said he believes the “boycott culture” started because certain things that are shown in movies and web series are “wrong”. “I definitely think this whole boycott culture started because people thought certain things that were being shown were wrong,” he said. He added that as an industry, they need to exercise caution in the earliest stages of production.

“As an industry, when it comes to scriptwriting and character writing, we have to remember that people are very sensitive these days. We have to censor ourselves so nobody can misinterpret what we’re trying to say,” he said. Ali said not every tweet slamming Bollywood is from a bot. He insisted that filmmakers should write and create content that bots and trolls wouldn’t find fault with.

“I believe it’s our responsibility that we humbly create content in a way that when the audience looks at it, the ones we call paid bots and trolls, they look at it and say there’s nothing wrong with that . If something is wrong, you cannot fight it. You have to be at eye level with them and talk to them. You need to make them understand that you understand their point of view. And if such a cinema is made where they can’t question anything, then this whole conversation will be null and void,” he said.

Ali Abbas Zafar got into a lot of controversy after the release of his Prime Video series Tandav and ended up having to apologize and edit certain scenes from the show. Speaking about this experience, Ali said that he made a mistake with Tandav, so he can apologize.

“My aspiration is to create things that unite people. With Tandav, I learned storytelling and I also learned that the audience that loves you has the right to be mad at you,” he said, adding that they should have looked at those offensive scenes from a different angle . “There were certain things in Tandav that annoyed people. We should have looked in from a different vantage point. I apologized and edited those scenes because I can’t separate my audience from me,” he said.

Ali Abbas Zafar recently directed Jogi by Diljit Dosanjh which was released on Netflix.



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