Udta Punjab – a movie on the drug menace in Punjab is mired in controversy thanks to two things:
- Head of the Central Board of Film Certification of India (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani has been pushing for cuts and having a verbal duel with Anurag Kashyap, the film director.
- Allegations that Udta Punjab Director took money from AAP. Given the timing and the said content and the very character of AAP, it is believable.
Agendas and Funding of Indian Movies
It is sad that anonymous funding both in movies and politics can be and has been used to tilt the social mores and thinking in certain ways. Most of the time, this is done in a very subtle way. For example, the songs of the Indian movies use the words from Islamic theology in a way to legistimize them. Kafir and But-parasti (Islamic pejorative for Idol worship) are used in lyrics to convey a legitimized sentiment, as if that is the correct way of looking at the world. The so-called Secular group has used movies in ways to further their agenda. Often times, it has been alleged that the funding for such agendas comes from certain quarters. So, a process has always been in place.
It is not totally unbelievable if the pipeline used for such funding can and will be used by political groups aligned with the same funding sources. In the image below you can see Sameer Nair – Leading AAP’s communications group – is one of the producers of Udta Punjab. It is a direct case of political funding for a movie to benefit one party at the time of elections.
This kind of psychological warfare using movies via targeted funding needs to be dealt with by the Indian Government. It should come under the purview of foreign investments and money flow in India and the purpose for which it is coming.
A serious issue and something where action and work needs to happen from the Government.
As for the timing of such movies made with the purpose to influence public opinion at election time, the Election Commission of India needs to make note and take action. Just like one cannot use office for bringing populist schemes to influence voters, similarly this is doing the same thing. On the other hand, such movies should also be viewed as “Advertisement by Political Parties”.
Certification and NOT Censorship, please!
Now, let us move to the censorship and cuts that Pahlaj Nihalani is trying to push for. As the High Court said today, the work of CBFC is to provide certification and not censorship. Certifications simply are a means to tag a movie for certain audience. But they do not have any reason to start cutting scenes from the movies. Absolutely no justification for that.
Sometimes some people think that by doing such actions they can garner some favors with the leadership of the day and so indulge in their own version of sucking up. Pahlaj Nihalani may be doing the same. Thankfully, the Modi Government has made it clear to Nihalani that he is on his own in this one. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad snubbed him in a press briefing by reminding that PM Modi doesn’t need sycophants. The days of “sucking-upto-Gandhis” and getting crumbs is over. The formula no longer works!
And that is how it should be.
Drug Menace in Punjab: The Real Story
Finally, the real message of the movie. Drug menace in Punjab. Guys, it is really serious! The main frontline state has been targeted by drug peddling machinery operating from Pakistan with obvious goals that suit our neighbor. Read this and this to get a better handle on how it has been done! It is said that this is part of the ISI strategy to cripple a state like Punjab which is not just a border state but also one with greater numbers in defence and armed forces!
An AIIMS study done by the institute’s National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre painted an extremely grim picture of the state’s population. Every year Rs 7,500 crore worth of drugs are consumed — Rs 6000 crores only on heroin – by its population!
It further said:
“Our survey indicates that while as many as 80% of opioid dependent individuals have tried to give up, only about 35% have received any help,” it says.
Despite more de-addiction centers opening up, they are always full and yet more people succumb to the menace every day.
A physician at Manas Hospital in Ludhiana says that of the 150 odd people coming for de-addiction treatment, many are couples – husband-wife or boyfriend-girlfriend. And in this rather tragic tale of how an entire family got hooked onto heroin, one can see how Punjab is being ruined:
The young businessman kept his heroin at home, unaware that his wife and sister had started trying it in his absence. The two women got so used to it that when they did not get their daily high, withdrawal symptoms would leave them unnerved, leading to bad fights in the family. It took the businessman some time but he soon realized that the women were addicted to his own addiction.
It is time to take on this menace in Punjab headon and some prominent Punjabis – like Gurdas Mann – are doing their bit. He is using the popular “Challa” as the way to take the message to a larger audience.
Final Remarks: Politics aside, its time to end censorship and focus on real issues!
Punjab is being destroyed! One family after another. Poor, middle class and the rich are being targeted and made addicts. Young and old. One village at a time.
We need to reclaim this state back. There is a change needed in Punjab and BJP needs to step up and take responsibility for it and do the right thing. Akali Dal cannot handle Punjab going forward since it has far too much negative history. It is time for change, but let us assure that this change is not for AAP at least!
Featured Image: Heroin by eikoweb