Producer: Folks, we are here today to brainstorm about our next movie. We need a big hit, a movie that everybody will watch.
Make-up artist: Let’s make a masala film, with romance and songs and dances and sex and violence.
Assistant director: Nobody watches that kind of movie these days. This is the age of the multiplex. Could we do Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Possessed’? Or Kierkegaard’s ‘Fear and Trembling’?
Producer: Horror movies don’t sell. Have you heard of ‘Udta Punjab’?
Director: Of course. Who hasn’t?
Producer: Precisely. Everybody will see it, because of all the controversy. We need a film the censor board will be angry about, so that when it is finally released, even after a hundred cuts, folks will flock to see it. We need something Pahlaj Nihalani will feel insulted about.
Location manager: That’s easy. Where are the next state elections? UP? How about calling it Useless UP?
Co-producer: Pahlaj will love it, it’s ruled by the Samajwadi Party. We want a BJP-ruled state.
Costume designer: Elections in Goa next year, Gujarat in 2018. Gangs of Goa, Gangrene in Goa, Godforsaken Goa?
Producer: I like Gujarat. Pahlaj will hate any criticism of Gujarat. The state has prohibition, but booze is freely available. Piyelaa Gujarat?
Scriptwriter: Ladkhadata Gujarat? Ludakta Gujarat? Ooncha (High) Gujarat? What’s that you’re smoking, boss?
Producer: Some excellent ganja, I believe it’s the same brand the Censor Board smokes.
Director: Start the movie with Gujarat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, written on big signboards, in bold black letters.
Art director: Make it red, they hate red. What were the other words the censors wanted removed?
Spot boy: MP, elections, political party, parliament. We’ll have the bootlegger hero saying those banned words, along with lots of Gujarati cuss-words.
Director: Throw in the patidar agitation. So we have the drunkard bootlegger hero who falls for this patidar girl. He could be a Gujjar or a Jat, they protest a lot. We’ll have gay Gujjar disco dances.
Hair stylist: The hero should be from the same gotra as the girl, that will rile the khaps. Weave in a few cracks about Modi, Pahlaj will hate it.
Assistant director: Can we have a riot or two?
Co-producer: Don’t be silly. We don’t want the film to be banned. The dialogue must say politicians are hand in glove with the bootleggers.
Director: The bootleggers association will protest violently.
Scriptwriter: We’ll have the hero from one community and the villain from another so that when both insult each other’s communities, the protests will be bigger. Praise a historical Muslim ruler of Gujarat. Insult Chanakya. Make scathing remarks about some gurus. Mention chilli beef. Say things against Manu. Mention Nehru often.
Producer: Ok, that’s settled. Let’s have a vote of thanks for Pahlaj Nihalani. Three cheers for him.
All: Hip hip hooray.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed are personal