The Producers Guild of India and Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) on Monday criticised the attack on filmmaker Prakash Jha and his crew while they were filming the third season of the series Aashram in Bhopal and said the government must take an action on such “brazen acts of violence.”
Bajrang Dal activists allegedly ransacked the set of the series and also threw ink on Jha, its producer-director, accusing him of portraying Hindus wrongly. The series features actor Bobby Deol in the lead as Baba Nirala, a conman.
According to the police, the windscreens of two buses of the crew were broken in stone-pelting, with Bajrang Dal threatening that it would not allow the shooting of this web series further.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Producers Guild of India said it strongly condemns the “brazen acts of violence, harassment and vandalism” faced by the crew. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and the Guild is alarmed to note the frequency with which both the production and exhibition sectors are severely and illegally disrupted by various elements with impunity.
“Content production contributes significantly to local economies, generates employment and promotes tourism, which is why authorities in India and across the world formulate policies to attract producers to their respective regions,” the statement read.
The Guild said the least that production units should expect–more than incentives and benefits–is for the authorities to provide the guarantee of safety and security for their units.
“We urge the relevant authorities to take immediate and strict action against the perpetrators of these acts of violence and to bring them to justice,” the statement read.
Official Statement by Producers Guild Of India pic.twitter.com/xpqUEMcjJ6
— Producers Guild of India (@producers_guild) October 25, 2021
In another press statement, the FWICE appealed to the government to take cognizance of the incident and initiate “stringent action” against those involved in the vandalism.
“The safety and security of our members is at high risk and increasing day by day due to such incidents and ignorance of the same by the respective authorities. We look for justice. The FWICE is and will always stand strongly with the Producer/Director and their crew members and extends all its required support to eradicate such happenings from the otherwise peaceful Industry,” the statement read.
Superintendent of Police (SP), Bhopal south, Sai Krishna Thota told PTI that some people raised objections and staged protests over the name of the web series when it’s shooting was underway.
“Bajrang Dal activists objected that this web series hurt the sentiments of Hindus as it contains obscene scenes,” he said.
The officer said that the windscreens of two buses were damaged due to stone pelting and one person was injured. No person has been arrested in this regard so far.
According to eyewitnesses, Bajrang Dal activists also raised slogans against Jha and Deol, accusing them of hurting the Hindu sentiments.
The first and the second season of the series premiered last year on MX Player.
The vandalism has been criticised by filmmakers Hansal Mehta, Sanjay Gupta and others.
“Scared silence and continued deference will only empower such hooligans and further such oppression. But who will bell the cat?” Mehta captioned a news feed.
Producer Pritish Nandy tweeted, “There appears to be no end to these kind of attacks. It is time the ministry spoke out and reined these guys in. They are running amuck.”
Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra also shared a news clip of the incident and wrote, “What ? This is terrible . The industry has to get together otherwise… (do I have to state it ). Come on, “Associations”. Stand with your members !”
Gupta reacted to the news by tweeting, “DISGUSTING!!!”