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Politics take flight over Udta Punjab’s take on Punjab

Armed with statistics and data pertaining to the national average, the state government has pointed out that states like Goa see the most drugs seizures not Punjab which is just a transit route for drugs.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Updated: June 7, 2016 6:34 pm
udta punjab, udta punjab movie, udta punjab release, udta punjab ban, udta punjab movie ban, udta punjab news, udta punjab movie news, punjab news, india news, latest news “Udta Punjab”, a Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh starrer movie, delves into how the youth there have succumbed to drugs.

With just a few months to go before the assembly polls take place in Punjab, the controversy over the movie ‘Udta Punjab’ could not have come at a better time for the opposition parties even as the timing is all wrong as far as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is concerned.

The movie is slated for release at a time when the CM, Parkash Singh Badal, as well as the president of SAD and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal have been at pains to emphasise that Punjab is being defamed as the drugs hub of the country. Armed with statistics and data pertaining to the national average, the state government has pointed out that states like Goa see the most drugs seizures not Punjab which is just a transit route for drugs.

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Terming the move to impose cuts on the movie as “foolish”, Sunil Jakhar, Congress MLA and a former leader of opposition says, “This is the harsh reality of the state as well as the country. The Prime Minister himself referred to this problem in his weekly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat‘. You cannot hide the truth.” Jakhar adds that instead of coming down hard on the movie makers, the government should come down hard on the drug dealers in Punjab.

Part of the Akali discomfiture stems from the fact that there is a negative public perception towards the role of the party and its leadership in allowing the drugs problem in the state to fester. When the movie promos were released and fast became a hit in the state, the state government scrambled to launch an aggressive advertisement blitz on FM channels to counter the growing popularity of the movie and its “Chitta” song in the state.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which intends to reap the benefits of the public anger towards the drugs problem in the upcoming elections, says the Akalis do not want to be exposed and therefore, they are insisting on the large number of cuts and the change of the title of the movie. “This is just an attempt by the Akalis to browbeat the artists who are trying to convey a message regarding the drugs problem of Punjab. Rather than stopping the movie from being screened they should realise that it will help percolate the message of fight against drugs. The state is in a bad position not only with respect to drugs but on all fronts, so impeding the release of a movie is not going to help the party in power,” says Sukhpal Khaira, AAP leader.

However, there is also a view that while the general message must be conveyed Punjab should not be left with a negative image. Pramod Kumar, who is part of the Punjab government’s governance reforms commission and who also heads a think tank on development and communications says the move to impose restrictions on the movie are “fascist and authoritarian”. However, he also adds that labeling and stigmatisation of the population of Punjab also needs to be avoided. “But it should be left to the film makers to exercise self control. Essentially it is the people who will decide if the movie is showing Punjab in a correct aspect or not. If they feel it is no good, they will reject it,” he says.

Former DGP, Shashikant, who has been running a campaign against drugs in Punjab, has been associated with ‘Udta Punjab’ in its formative stage. “Sudip Sharma, who is a co-writer of the movie, had been in touch with me and met me while writing the movie. I told him to visit the villages affected by the drugs problem and he was seen the ground position himself and that has been his basis while writing the story,” he says.

While Shashikant finds nothing wrong with the movie’s premise he feels that it should not be used for electoral advantages. “It is unfortunate that this movie is being released close to elections as it might become a political tool for a short period of time,” he says.

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  1. A
    Abhinav Gour
    Jun 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm
    khani te uda vi honi aa 2017 vich te hun la ke karage !!!
    1. R
      Jun 7, 2016 at 5:47 pm
      IE teri amma ku lagoon
      1. P
        PS Azurite
        Jun 7, 2016 at 5:58 pm
        Knowingly or unknowingly Censor board is giving broad publicity to this film.
        1. R
          Jun 12, 2016 at 1:48 pm
          None of the political parties has any reason to object or talk in favour regarding the subject of the movie.It being a commercial venture based on some real incidents and some based on imagination of the script writer ,they should be left alone to deal with authorities in relation to seeking various permissions for shooting and release of movie. Why the plot of movie is based on Punjab and not based on any other city like Goa ,where also drugs are in demand ,should not be the concern of the politicians. The govt of punjab is admitting that the State is a route for entry of drugs in the Country , view of same ,instead of criticising the movie based on the subject ,the Stae govt . should specify ,what steps they have taken to seal tge route and nab the culprits at botder or within the State. If the drugs are ping from the State ,then definitely if the drug peddlers wjll get customers / demand at entry level they will be happy to sell their consignments wherever they get the markett earlier. Therefore instead of debating about whether movie should be released as it is or with cuts or in any form of not,the state govt. still has enough time to take on drug peddlers small or big and reduce the menace of drugs in the state. Instead of arresting the victims ,they should be provided medical facilities to get rid of the habit and for their rehabilitation ,so that they can move in the mainstream again. The movie may have its background in State ,but reflects the consequences of consumption of drugs and its affect o the families which is equally true ,whether it is in Punjab or any other state and thus addresses a national problem .It should be leftvto the people whetger theg want to watch it or not and thus various political parties should try to avoid dragging their feet in the matter by making various accusations againsf each other and have given enough publicity to the movie.
          1. D
            Jun 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm
            Another self goal by foolish censor chief. Sooner he is removed the better it is for the bhp.
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