Sikh elders and youths in Madhya Pradesh are divided on the controversy surrounding the much-awaited movie ‘Udta Punjab’, which revolves around the menace of drug abuse in the northern state.
Before paving the way for the movie’s release on June 17, the Bombay high court had overturned a controversial suggestion by the Censor Board seeking 13 cuts to the movie.
More than 60,000 Sikhs reside in Bhopal of which half are youngsters. The elders are annoyed over the use of name of the state and religion in the film.
‘Punjab has deliberately been associated with drug addiction’
“Youngsters are aping the West. This is not our culture. Whatever is happening in Punjab is happening everywhere in the country. Shree Guru Gobind Singhji has told that Sikhs should not have drugs or alcohol. However, people do it. But the film industry should not generalise this,” says Gurcharan Singh Arora, spokesperson of the community in Bhopal. “Punjabis are spread across the world and they will be hurt if they see a film like this.”
Arora feels Punjab has deliberately been dragged and associated with drug addiction.
“Had the filmmakers advertised the film in newspapers and TV channels, they would have to spent crores of rupees. They got so much publicity just by involving the name of a state...”
‘Drug menace spread across country, no specific state should be targeted’
Hamidia Gurudwara pradhan Gyani Daleep Singh says films should essentially be made for entertainment and information. “Involving the name of a religion or state just in order to convey that drugs and alchoholism is bad, doesn’t make sense. I know 500 people in Punjab but no one is into drugs at all. The drug menace is spread across the country. No specific state should be targeted.”
The Sikh elders feel films such as Boman Irani and Vir Das starrer Santa Banta Pvt Ltd are made at the expense of the community. “Tell me one community which has borne the brunt of jokes on such a large scale. … The film industry should not generalise a subject like this and link with Sikh community only. If anything like this is prevalent in a particular area and film makers depict it in a realistic way, they has to name that area but religious sentiments should not be hurt,” says PS Anand of MP Punjabi Academy.
DK Kapoor, former secretary of Punjabi Samaj, Bhopal echoes similar sentiments but he is willing to watch the film.
But entrepreneur Harjappan Singh Gulati says releasing the film with ‘A’ certificate after 13 cuts did not make any sense. “Either you pass the film as it is with ‘A’ certificate or you do the cuts and give it an ‘A/U’ certificate. The court judgment has generated curiosity among people. I am eager to see how the filmmaker has dealt with a sensitive subject.”
Daljeet Kaur, a beautician, feels there are more serious subjects confronting the society. “We should be agitated rather enraged when rapes and corruption take place. This is going to be an honest movie and people should appreciate it rather than raising their voices.”
“Everybody knows what is going on in Punjab. May be the film can shake the government and open its eyes to take some measures to address the issue. The makers of this film must have done some research before making it,” HR professional Lovely Singh says.