Actress Neetu Chandra has penned an open letter to director Abhishek Chaubey and actress Alia Bhatt for the way people of Bihar have been portrayed in their upcoming film “Udta Punjab”.
In the letter, Neetu wrote: “It’s disturbing to see the way Biharis have been portrayed in Hindi cinema over the last few years, the recent example being Alia Bhatt’s character from ‘Udta Punjab’ and from whatever one understands from the promo of the film, director Abhishek Chaubey is guilty of strengthening the stereotype of Biharis by creating Bhatt’s character the way it is, in ‘Udta Punjab’.”
Alia plays a Bihari migrant in “Udta Punjab”, which tackles the drug menace in Punjab.
Neetu also stresses on the fact that unfortunately, “almost all the films made by Prakash Jha, who also hails from Bihar, have always stereotyped Biharis showing them corrupt politicians, cops and gangsters and in his movies.
“Bihar was always exaggerated to be the most dangerous place to visit as his films showed only either kidnapping and robbery and murders not realising that he himself along with leading Bollywood actors (part of his films) are maligning the name of Bihar whose history has been the most richest in the world.”
“The first educational university was set up in Rajgir, near Nalanda (Bihar) and several respected religions including Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism roots have developed in Bihar.
“Visionaries and scholars like Rajendra Prasad (first President of Republic of India), Ustad Bismillah Khan (Shehnai maestro)… among several hundreds of stalwarts of the world belong to Bihar. So why none of the makers from Bihar and outside Bihar have ever made stories and films on these stories? Because they think that they will keep making fun of Bihars in their films and TV programmes and no one will say anything against them,” Neetu added.
She has urged people to stop “stereotyping Bihar because you have seen Bihar through your ears not through your eyes”.