Political turmoil always affects filmmakers: Jia Zhangke

Mumbai: As political tensions between India and Pakistan have put the release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” in limbo, iconic international filmmaker Jia Zhangke agreed on Thursday that political changes and administrative decisions not only affect the mind of a filmmaker but also the entertainment industry.

The director, who is known for his cinematic representation of China’s post-Mao cultural history, said, “Political turmoil always affects us. The political situation of china is constantly changing and that reflects on the economical development of the nation. If you look closely, while the east china is economically quite developed, the west china is yet to reach that level. Such differences affect our society.”

Zhangke is on his first-ever visit to Mumbai for Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival and will be given the International Excellence in Cinema Award.

Zhangke, an admirer of Raj Kapoor and his film “Awaara” (1951) made his first film “Pickpocket” in 1997 in which he created the protagonist inspired by the character of Raj Kapoor. “When I was a child, I watched an Indian film called ‘Awaara’ by Raj Kapoor. The protagonist of the film created an impact on my mind. In fact, the central character of my debut film was inspired by that,” he said.

Known for his realistic filmmaking, many times his films faced trouble in releasing, talking about the interference of Government in freedom of creative expression, the filmmaker said that the situation is changing in China.

“Earlier our film used to get rejected without any explanation, but now things are changing. At least, we sit with the censor board and explain the reason and relevance of a story and scene. There is a room for negotiation, people are much liberal than earlier,” he said.

When asked about the political tensions between India and Pakistan and a growing demand for a ban on Pakistani artistes working in Bollywood, Zhangke said, “Though there is a constant tension between China and Taiwan, artistes are coming and as a filmmaker I encourage the free cultural exchange and brotherhood.”