A contentious interpretation

The controversy surrounding the film Adipurush has sparked intense debates and discussions regarding the portrayal of religious figures and the boundaries of creative expression.
A contentious interpretation

The controversy surrounding the film Adipurush has sparked intense debates and discussions regarding the portrayal of religious figures and the boundaries of creative expression. Dese Gowda speaks to creative professionals, who weigh in on the controversy

Sumana Kittur, filmmaker 
Fundamentally, interpretations and reinterprations of epics should always be welcomed and there have been many over the years. For instance, Mani Ratnam’s Raavan explored the age-old story from a different perspective. I am yet to watch Adipurush. I’ve been intrigued by all the talk about it. I think the filmmakers had a different vision in mind and possibly wanted to make a film in line with superhero movies, but they might have failed in their execution. Given all the talk about a lack of logic in the film, I also wonder how an actor like Prabhas could have picked this script. 

Prakash Belawadi, actor
I have not seen the movie, and it’s unlikely that I’ll ever see it, because I’m not very fond of mega-blockbuster movies. I haven’t seen Pathaan either. Adipurush might be a distasteful movie, but there is no law against bad taste. This country has laws and courts and only when somebody violates a law does censorship come into the picture. I believe censorship should be abolished and when mobs decide what kind of films can be done, it becomes even worse. As long as a film is legal, I’m okay with it. So, if someone is calling for a ban on the film, the state should go out of its way to ensure that film can be screened.  

V Nagendra Prasad, lyricist-composer
I’m not happy with the presentation of the film. They have tried something else and obviously it hasn’t worked out. I feel like they missed the basic essence of the original epic. They’ve changed aspects of the story that are so universally known that it simply doesn’t connect with anyone. I wrote the Kannada lyrics for the movie and I wasn’t aware of the direction that the filmmakers had taken. I think the director Om Raut’s heart was in the right place. He wanted to retell the story of Ramayana, but the presentation was just not up to par and I was very disappointed.  

Kirtana Kumar, author-dramatist
I haven’t watched Adipurush, but seems like the film seems to have irked both ends of the political spectrum! Personally, I feel the Ramayana and Mahabharata have retained their relevance and beauty because historically, they have always been reinterpreted to reflect on the human condition and the needs of the times. There have been many interpretations of the Ramayana! We have, ourselves, made plays based on a reinterpretation of the legends of Savitri. Also, a Shakuntala[play] that harked back to the Srimad Bhagavatam rather than Kalidasa. But it all depends on intentionality.

Rithwik Simha, dramatist 
In creative arts, liberty is absolutely essential. But when someone attempts any kind of creative interpretation of an original text, especially with the epics, they need to act responsibly. Creative liberty cannot be used to distort the original text. I believe the film is a very crude attempt compared to the innumerable variations of Ramayana that already exist. The use of colloquial language in the dialogues are also jarring. While many oral retelling do use colloquial language to make the story accessible to people, the film just uses it unevenly. So, I wouldn’t even call it creative liberty, because there is no creativity in this film.  

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