Independence Day 2023: Malayalam film celebrities express what freedom means to them
To mark the occasion of India's 76th Independence Day, we reached out to a few cinema personalities to get their insights into this seemingly simple but deeply profound question...
"What does freedom mean to you?"
Akhil Paul, Director
I have often heard this interpretation that freedom is a word with vastly different definitions, but I beg to differ. When you come to the heart of it, I believe freedom is basically just one single thing—choice, and it's the same for people across the world. For me, freedom is the ability to choose. For a teenager, it might be the ability to choose his lifestyle; for a prisoner, it might be the ability to choose his routine, and for an actor, it might be the ability to choose his ideas for a character. But the basic concept is always the same. When we are able to make our own choices, we have freedom. When we are forced to abide by someone else's choice, we don't have it. As a filmmaker, freedom is a large part of my creative output. The quality of my work rests mainly on how much freedom I can exercise in the creation and execution of my content. I sincerely hope that everyone is able to break free from our shackles and make their own choices in life and exercise their freedom to its fullest extent.
Arun Bose, Director
Freedom is the power, privilege and pleasure of being oneself that allows you to think, act, react and create with an immense sense of peace and pride in mind, despite the criticism you may have to encounter at every single step. Art is an act of freedom. Cinema, an art derived from many varied art forms, demands such freedom of expression for effective communication. Being a filmmaker, I consider myself a free artist.
Santhy Balachandran, Actor
Freedom is when one has the right and the opportunity to make choices that prioritise one's well-being—in a manner that doesn't deny another's right to the same.
Arjun Radhakrishnan, actor
When we speak about freedom, we think of it from the perspective of our immediate surroundings and how we can function within it. The idea of freedom, for me, rests within the mind. Can we be free from our desires and ambitions? Can we be free from the chatter in our heads? We can be imprisoned literally, but can our minds be too? I had the freedom to dream, a dream that led me to a path I walk on today. It has given me the opportunity to meet and work with some of my childhood heroes. I felt like I was held captive while doing my engineering course, but I finally found freedom in theatre and cinema. Now the real question is - what would I do with this freedom? Is it enough to be free as an individual, or should one be trying to give the same gift to the community around them? As an actor, what could be my role in ensuring freedom for others?
Freedom to be who you are without fear of consequences of your identity as a human being. Freedom to have access to basic needs and the right to choices.
Murali Gopy, actor, screenwriter
Freedom, from a creative point of view, is a space where there are no self-styled, autocratic dispensers of what one calls Independence. In a true democracy, this space can neither be subjected to bargain nor can it be an instrument of political patronisation.