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Intent of 'Article 370' is correct, don't care about agenda-driven critics: producer Aditya Dhar

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Mumbai, Feb 8 (PTI) Aditya Dhar on Thursday said he doesn't care about people, especially agenda-driven critics, who are branding his feature production debut "Article 370" as propaganda.

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The upcoming political drama, fronted by Dhar's wife-actor Yami Gautam, will hit the screens on February 23.

Backed by Jio Studios and Dhar's B62 Studios, the film presents a "powerful narrative inspired by true events that shaped the fate of Kashmir".

The release of "Article 370" comes ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Dhar's military action directorial "Uri: The Surgical Strike" also released in 2019 months before the general polls that year.

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"The intent of the film is correct and till the time I am a filmmaker, producer, and a director, the intent will always be right. The day the intent is wrong, I will stop making films. So, I don't care what people say, especially those people who are agenda driven critics.

"I generally don't think about critics who call it propaganda. I feel it's the propaganda in their head which makes them look at this film as propaganda. 'Article 370' is an India-centric film. It is an incredible story. It is one of the best stories I have ever heard," Dhar told reporters at the film's trailer launch here.

The Central government on August 5, 2019, had revoked Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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At the event, the filmmaker recalled that "agenda-driven critics" had a downfall while slamming "Uri". The 2019 film went on to earn over Rs 350 crore at the box office and four National Awards, including best director for Dhar and best actor for Vicky Kaushal.

"If you noticed that all the people had said such bad things about 'Uri' at that time, (but) the audience just thronged to the theatres. So, the audience doesn't care. It doesn't care what your political agenda is, what you are thinking and how you are presenting the reviews.

"What it cares about is, what is the intent of the film. We have so many examples, we watched '12th Fail' and we know the intent of Vidhu Vinod Chopra was to make a great film. Whatever review you give to the film, it does not matter, the audience will still go for it," he added.

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Dhar also gave an update on his ambitious superhero action film "The Immortal Ashwatthama", which was announced in 2020 with Kaushal in the lead.

The filmmaker said they had put the movie "on the back burner" for now as they don't want to offer anything mediocre to the audiences.

"... The kind of vision we all had for that, it was too big to work for Indian cinema. The kind of VFX quality we were looking at, nobody has even strived for it here... Once a film is made, it is for posterity. It can't be something mediocre. It can't have that intent that I just want to make money. As makers, we have a huge responsibility of representing our country in the right way," Dhar said.

Directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale, "Article 370" is also produced by Jyoti Deshpande and Lokesh Dhar.

Gautam essays the role of an intelligence agent in the movie, which revolves around the takedown of terrorism in Kashmir by rendering Article 370 ineffective. It also stars Priyamani. PTI CORR RDS RDS BK BK

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