UNFREEDOM is story about political, religious and sexual turmoil the film alternates between New York and New Delhi combining two stories about religious intolerance and fundamentalism. One story focuses on a Muslim terrorist trying to silence a liberal muslim speaker and the other story is about a young woman going against her father by escaping an arrange marriage and being involved in a taboo lesbian relationship.
The film features actors such as Bhanu Uday, Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Bhavani Lee in pivotal roles.
The film was denied an uncut release by the CBFC in 2015 citing content that can ignite unnatural passions and incite rapes and communal violence in India.
Kumar ran a campaign for a year during which they did around 100 screenings of the film globally in India and U.S among other countries. The film received encouraging audience response in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Los Angeles and New York. Following this, the film was recently released internationally by Netflix.
UNFREEDOM is based on an original story by Raj Amit Kumar and marks his directorial feature film debut. He has also produced the film under the banner of Dark Frames and co-written the screenplay with Damon J Taylor.
Talking about the film’s release on Netflix director Raj Amit Kumar said, “I am glad that UNFREEDOM finds such a popular platform like Netflix after the ban in India and the efforts of censorship guardians in India to stop the film. It also exposes the hypocrisy and divide between reality and fantasy of censorship system in India. There is no way they can control and censor content in digital age, yet, they try their best to choke filmmakers like me who have something relevant to say that makes them feel threatened.”
Speaking on the ban by CBFC and being labeled as one of the boldest Indian films ever, Kumar said, “The boldness of something is always defined by what you are allowed to say or not in a society. The boldness of an artist is always defined by what other artist around him have not said or what they are not allowed to express. Thus, it is not the content in my film per say makes it bold, but it the context of a society in which it is told, it is the fact that we have become such a weak and conservative society where we are asked to shut up all the time. Our voices are being crushed unless we are chanting slogans that the powers to be and moral guardians are ok with and in today’s time our art is being crushed in much more violent ways than ever before.
Journalists are getting killed, films are getting banned for slightest of transgressions and the whole mediascape is turned into a trumpet sound. Any other vision, voice, expression has to be curtailed. So I guess it is the boldest film ever because I did not give a damn about anyone or anybody. I didn’t care and I don’t think I will care in future as well. Unless artists take that approach and risk their well-being, we will soon be living in a world where everybody is frightened to say anything truthful.”
Directed by Raj Amit Kumar and Produced by Dark Frames the film has been released on Netflix