22 June 2019
“Instead of harping about Freedom of Expression, why is it that we don’t talk about our Right to Truth. In the endless wars and conflicts we humans have experienced in the short span of time that we’ve spent on Earth, the only thing that survives eventually is the truth and yet we are reluctant to seek it,”
remarked the famed director and author Vivek Agnihotri, while delivering a talk hosted by an open forum ‘Once in 30 Days’ at The Village Resorts.
Speaking for well over an hour, the film-maker voiced his concerns over the subject of intellectual subjugation and the frequently debated topic of freedom of expression and the misconceptions attached to these notions. Meandering through global historical narratives while sharing anecdotes from his own life that began in Bhopal in the early 70’s, Agnihotri observed that as a society it was the “duality” we chose to exercise as individuals that determined the kind of social degeneration and duplicitous behaviour.
“I don’t hesitate from taking names of those who are hailed as “intellectuals”, whether they are media professionals or pseudo writers or popular critics, but in reality are far removed from even being sensitive human beings. These people are themselves fearful of losing their so-called prestige and status not earned by unravelling the truth, but by misrepresenting facts, sensationalising and selling news or content thereby providing a skewed synopsis for public consumption,” said the director of Tashkent Files.
The eighteenth month old city-based voluntary initiative, Once in 30 Days, is a story telling collective that strives towards nurturing a culture of thought provoking conversations and hosting engaging interactive talks on a wide range of subjects including art and culture.
“Chandigarh’s image needs restoration. It has much more to offer to visitors and residents alike than entertaining events such as film premiers and musical shows. ‘Once in 30 Days’ is a small beginning in that direction and is open to those who have creative ideas for reshaping and strengthening the character of a city, quite like any other in the country,” informed a founder member of the group.
The select group currently has retired army officers, entrepreneurs, artistes, independent writers, journalists, doctors, lawyers as its members.
Accompanied by actor wife Pallavi Joshi, Vivek lauded the group’s brave step in circulating a platform such as ‘Once in 30 Days’ and announced that he would like to support its activities and growth, in all manner possible.
“It’s a great attempt and a place like Chandigarh bears the potential to develop it into something substantial,” said Vivek.
The talk concluded with an interactive Q&A, wherein the director also spoke about his ongoing project, a film on Kashmiri Pandits, a subject close to his heart.