The last line of the opening note of Udta Punjab urges people to “unite in fight against drugs”. It’s a fact that drug is a serious issue not just in Punjab but across India. In a lighter vein, people are now saying that if India succeeds in winning this battle against drug menace, the one who will be at a major loss will be none other than producer of Udta Punjab Anurag Kashyap himself. A close look at his previous films and their central characters points to his deep fascination for characters obsessed with drugs.
Be it a black drama like Dev D, psychological thriller No Smoking, crime fiction Gangs of Wasseypur or his directorial debut Paanch. Kashyap’s creative expression, to an extent, is limited to the darkest shades of human life, and he is proud of it. May be this was the reason he refused to put a no-smoking warning in his directorial venture Ugly when asked by the Censor board to do so.
He argued that putting a no-smoking warning is a violation of his creative expression as films should not be a medium to advertise non-smoking. He refused to teach moral science to his audience saying it’s the Health Ministry that should take the responsibility of curbing use of tobacco and work towards measures to control it. And that is why when an opening note, like the one in Udta Punjab, appears on the screen, it leaves Kashyap’s fan confused if he actually meant it.
WATCH | Udta Punjab Mashup
After its share of controversy, Udta Punjab hit the theatres as scheduled and got mixed to positive response. While many agreed that the film makes you aware about the drug syndicate in Punjab, some say it doesn’t offer a solution which also is the responsibility of a filmmaker. If film-making is a right, then educating people through the medium should also be a duty. But in India, people are more obsessed with their rights and give a damn to their duty.
Known as an emerging face of new wave cinema, Kashyap has openly admitted in past that he cannot make masala entertainers like the ones by Salman Khan and Shah Rukh. His expertise is telling dark and dirty stories with similar characters. On being asked the reason for that, his reply is that he is ‘fascinated by them.’ And his fascination has really given Indian cinema some of the finest films. So, if someone like Nagma Khatoon (GOW) asks Anurag “Kab chodega re apna Ganjeri, Nasheri” characters ko, the answer, in all likelihood, will be ‘never’.