Mumbai, Aug 15 (IANS) India is celebrating 60 years of independence and the film fraternity too has joined the celebrations.
While young actors like Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu rejoice as independence allows them to lead their lives the way they want to, seniors like Mahesh Bhatt and Victor Banerjee express their concerns over the chasm between the rich and the poor.
Mahesh Bhatt: Freedom is a high-sounding concept, which may have benefited you and me. The majority of India is enslaved by poverty. Only when the weakest of the weak is free will I feel free.
Victor Banerjee: I'm deeply saddened by the disparity in wealth, and even ashamed to use the word 'wealth'. Sixty years after independence we eulogise dubious movie stars and cricketers with comic scores. We live in a world of magical muck while millions starve, fight discrimination and can only pray to the heavens for solace and food.
With our imperialistic shrines, the Baristas and KFCs and McDonalds we've more to be ashamed of than proud. As for the imitative institutions like 'Bollywood' they make us look like caged monkeys where the zookeeper is the ignorant American.
Priyanka Chopra: I feel lucky to be part of independent India. We actually have the freedom of choice and speech and the freedom to dream and actualise our dreams without the fear of losing our values. And I salute our forefathers for paving the way for our lives today.
Preity Zinta: Freedom to me is the choice to think, live and act the way I want to; the choice to say yes or no. I think I have that choice.
Bipasha Basu: Freedom allows me to be myself. As a woman I can choose the profession I want and be respected for what I do. Today, women can afford financial freedom. Because we live in independent India, I get opportunities to exercise personal freedom.
Shabana Azmi: Looking at our country today I feel grateful for the sacrifices made by those who made freedom possible. It also makes me conscious of the responsibility we must exercise in preserving it. Pluralism is an invaluable gift of freedom. And it makes me proud to be an Indian.
Suniel Shetty: Freedom to me is the ability to live my life the way I want to. And no country gives me that freedom better than India. We not only give our citizens the full right to expression, we also allow foreigners full freedom in this country. And look at how much we're valued abroad! Bollywood today gets preferential treatment for shooting in nearly every part of the globe.
Anupam Kher: I've never felt freer. I'm able to do so many things with my life and career. Let's not forget we're just 60 years old after freedom, and we've done a terrific job of bringing our country from the 'Third World' to being a frontrunner. Our cinema is going through its most fertile phase. Given a choice I'd not be part of any other phase in the evolution of Indian cinema. This is it.
Kangana Ranaut: Freedom to me is the power to be anywhere without fear. I don't think women in this country have got that freedom yet. Last year my sister was attacked because she said no to a man who wanted to be friends with her. I think we girls should have the freedom to say no. But I don't have the freedom to say no. When I refuse a role or want to be out of a relationship or I want to be left alone I'm labelled arrogant.
Hema Malini: Sixty years of independence has given the Indian women equal rights and privileges to men in all walks of life. India is a shining example of unity-in-multiplicity. Gandhiji's teachings resonate across the world. India plays an important part in global issues. All this didn't seem possible a few years ago.
Irrfan Khan: It's a fact that we're born caged. We spend all our lives looking for freedom. It doesn't matter if after the British dominion, Indian leaders have made our lives miserable. We'll keep looking for and fighting for that freedom.
Kalpana Lajmi: These 60 years of independence spell a precious freedom of expression for me. My country's freedom has helped my liberation as a woman and as a citizen of India, has given me democracy, which gives me the right to vote for a better and positive change and growth for myself and for my country.
Manoj Bajpai: Coexistence of different cultures and communities, freedom of expression and freedom to be myself - these are what India has given me. I wish an end to corruption, caste system, crime and feudalism. And I wish women to be liberated completely from male chauvinism. It will happen, I know.