`Rang Rasiya` is reaction against attack on creative freedom: Ketan Mehta

Mumbai: National award winning filmmaker Ketan Mehta Wednesday said that his film `Rang Rasiya` is a small token of response against the persecution of painter MF Hussian who was hounded out of the country for pursuing his creative freedom.

"The film is a small little way of response and reaction to the climate of intolerance that was sweeping in the country five -six years back. What happened to Raja Ravi Varma hundred years ago happens today also. If you look at M.F. Hussain, the great Indian artist was hounded, persecuted, prosecuted and thrown out of the country because of his art. He was forced to go on a self exile," said Mehta.

"The focus is on the idea of creative freedom. Is creative freedom necessary for civilization? I strongly believe that without creative freedom and freedom of expression no civilization can do well," said Mehta.

Mehta was in the city for the special screening of "Rang Rasiya" at the 17th Kolkata Film Festival. The film was screened at an over-crowded theatre on Tuesday.

Based on the 19th century Indian painter Raja Ravi Verma, played by Randeep Hooda, and his muse Sugandha Bai played by Nandana Sen, the film shows how the legendary painter`s partially nude portraits of Sugandha Bai irked priests of that era and kicked a controversy.

Mehta Wednesday announced that the film will go for theatrical release in the month of February 2012.

When asked why it took so long for the commercial release of the film as the film was completed in 2008, Mehta said, "A lot of courage was needed on our part to make this film. Similarly, we needed a courageous distributor too. So after a search of three years we have finally found a courageous distributor and the film will be released in February 2012."

Mehta said that the distributors were afraid of `problems` as the film had nudity in it.

Mehta added that the film has been cleared by the censor board without any cuts.

While stating that liberating human minds is more important, Mehta said, "Sensuality is an integral part of Indian culture. We are proud of our sculptures at Khajuraho.


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