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No politics! Time to show the real UP

india Updated: Jun 28, 2011 19:49 IST
Deep Saxena
Deep Saxena
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Change the mindset and the things around you will change too. The equation applies to all universally—including politicians. The moment the politicians change their mindset, the quality of politics will change accordingly. UP must sell its positives, suggests Bollywood’s prolific writer-poet Prasoon Joshi, who wrote his first book ‘Main aur Woh’ at 17. He replies to HT’s questions. Some excerpts.

Do you think 2012 UP polls will change the way the film fraternity perceives politicians and their politics from the Hindi heartland?
It is the ‘extreme’ that is depicted in films. But because it has the surprise element, it has the entertainment value. We must understand that cinema is not reporting or documenting, it is capturing and packaging what is entertaining. The extreme aspect of UP gets reflected cinematically— as it has the shock and amusement value. And that extreme thing is UP’s politics. If you want the portrayal and perception to change then first the reality need to be changed, and then the reflection will change automatically.

In reel life, corrupt politicians are lynched. As a thoughtful scriptwriter, what’s your take on this?
Films show radical solutions. Lynching is not something that one can support. Having said that what is palpable is certain angst, bottled-up frustration about deep-seated issues. How it will get manifested no one can predict.

Several actors from Bollywood have tried their hand at politics. Do you also see a political future for yourself?
It depends on how one defines politics. If it is about fighting elections and having a designation against your name then no – I have not envisaged that. But if it also means being part of an aware and vocal society, of social activism, of speaking on issues that concern our society and nation— whether it is through articles, certain social or official bodies, or though popular arts like music literature and poetry then yes I defiantly see myself as part of it.

Mahesh Bhatt says like filmmakers are forced to change their scripts and style to adapt to the fluctuating moods of the audience, politicians in UP too would ultimately be forced to realise that time has come for change. Do you think 2012 would set the tone for change in the script in the Hindi heartland?
There are two ways that literature, cinema and arts work, reflecting the society and the social cultural ethos or shaping it. I hope and look at arts as shaping the culture and I believe it can contribute a lot, some cinema will come that will move people and the society in a certain way. And when I mean people politicians are included—- they are a part of our system. Impact of arts is undeniable in both the populace and governance. It’s a two-way process, society inspires art and art inspires society.

How is UP perceived by people outside? Is it still regarded as the ‘bhaiyaland’ or is the image changing?
How is image constructed? By the reality of the entity/place. And secondly by the people who are the representatives of the place. When people migrate to different parts of the country because they did not find the means sufficient in their native place to take care of their basics, they become dependent on the city that they migrate to.
Then there are people who through their talent and work enrich and benefit the city or place they have migrated to. When we have more of the latter, those that enrich and benefit, they will enhance the image of their mother state. Needless to say, work has to begin at home.
Do you see it changing for the good with focus shifting from caste, communal politics to that of development?
Of course. Development is the only religion in today’s times that a government should follow.

How would you describe the UP of your dreams?
Uttar Pradesh has such a rich cultural legacy. It was and has been known for its knowledge and educational centres in the past. The womb that delivered arts, music, poetry. The land where political consciousness is awakened. I would want a UP that defines the soul of our nation that is known for its artistic and intellectual contribution — One where heritage, culture and intellect are cherished.

Does UP politics inspire you as a film-maker? ?
Yes, wherever there is conflict there is a story. UP’s rich cultural legacy and its decay and struggles to reach heights add more curious layers.

How would you describe the UP of your dreams?
Uttar Pradesh has such a rich cultural legacy. It was and has been known for its knowledge and educational centres in the past. .. The womb that delivered arts, music, poetry. The land where political consciousness is awakened. I would want a UP that defines the soul of our nation that is known for its artistic and intellectual contribution—-One where heritage, culture and intellect are cherished.

Does UP politics inspire you as a film-maker?
Yes, wherever there is conflict there is a story. UP’s rich cultural legacy and its decay and struggles to reach heights add more curious layers.

UP would have several first-time voters? Do you think the young would make a difference? Your message for them.
Youths are the only ones who can make a tangible difference. They have a reason to do so. It’s their future that is at stake, therefore for the youth status quo means stagnation and for a future growth is necessary. They must make a definite choice. The key thing is not to wait for someone to start. You can be the first to start.

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