At the opening ceremony of the 22nd edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) on Friday, actor Prakash Raj, urged the film fraternity to stand up and speak, “For if we become cowards, we will make society cowardly,” he said – and he also had a word of praise for Kerala.
The noted actor was the guest of honour at the festival. In his fiery speech, he also hailed the state for standing out in a growing intolerant society.
“When I come to Kerala I don’t come with a script to talk because there is no censor here. I love you because this is one state where I can breathe without fear. Whatever I am going to talk, I believe with integrity that this is what I should talk.”
Speaking of the ban on ‘S Durga’, the actor wondered how one can have issues with the title but stores named ‘Durga Bar’ go unnoticed.
“When they threaten me, I laugh at them. When they try to silence me, I will start to sing. What more will they take away from me? They have a problem with a film called, S Durga. But the same people have no problem with ‘Durga Wine and Bar’,” he said.
The actor also warned ‘fascist forces’ while addressing the gathering saying that, “when you silence a voice, a louder voice will be born”. The actor also emphasized on the need for artists to speak up.
“I raise my voice not because I belong to any political party. I raise my voice as an artist, as I feel responsible. It is very important for artists to speak as they owe their fame and position to the love from society. If we creative people become cowards, we should realise that we will be making society itself cowards”
The actor also expressed his concerns over the next generation being afraid even to think as voices are silenced and fear is instilled.
“Today someone is lynched in Rajasthan and if the culprits can go scot-free, we need to think, what kind of narrative is being pushed. You are trying to silence voices and instil fear so that the next generation of thinkers will be afraid to think. We shouldn’t let that happen. They seem to be the reincarnation of Hitler,” he said, according to a news report.