Celebrated indie filmmakers such as Anand Patwardhan, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and Devashish Makhija have come together to issue an appeal to defeat fascism in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, saying the country is going it's most "testing times ever".
In a joint statement issued on the website www.artistuniteindia.com, the group of 103 filmmakers have called people "to protect the democracy of the country" and claimed that the "BJP has made the country the boardroom property of a handful of businessmen".
The unity of the nation - despite being culturally vivid and geographically diverse-"is at stake now", they said.
"Fascism threatens to strike us hard with all its might if we don't choose wisely in the coming Lok Sabha election. Period. As we all know, ever since the BJP came to power in 2014, things have changed. And only for the worse," the statement read.
It has been signed by 103 filmmakers, including Vetri Maaran, Q, Deepa Dhanraj, Kabir Singh Chowdhry.
According to the statement, a country polarised along religious lines is "not the India we have known".
"Besides, the BJP and its allies have failed miserably in keeping their election promises. They are now using mob lynching and cow vigilantism to split the country communally. Marginalizing Dalits and Muslims is the name of the game. They are spreading their hate campaigns with the help of the internet and social media."
The filmmakers said patriotism is the BJP's trump card and any individual or institution that raises the slightest dissent is labelled "anti-national".
"'Let us not forget that some of our eminent writers and media persons lost their lives because they dared to dissent."
According to the directors, "romanticizing and exploiting the armed forces" is one of BJP's strategies, "even at the risk of engaging the nation in an unnecessary war."
The filmmakers said there is an unrelenting onslaught on the cultural and scientific institutions in the country.
"Flawed economic policies that ended up as extreme disasters are covered up and made to look like successes. All with the help of false propaganda and marketing blitz. This has helped them to create a false optimism in the country.
Manipulation of statistics and history is another one of their fond projects," the statement alleged.
The filmmakers said giving the BJP one more term in power will be a "grave blunder" and it could well be the "last nail in the coffin for the biggest democracy in the world".