The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday said the Punjab government was not contemplating any ban on the Shahid Kapoor-starrer ‘Udta Punjab’, which is caught in a censorship row; but alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a “hand” in making of the film to “defame the state”. The movie deals with the drug abuse problem in Punjab.
“I want to make it clear that the SAD is not against films, media and creativity. It has always supported freedom of expression and freedom of press. It was the first to launch an agitation demanding freedom of press during Emergency in 1975,” said SAD spokesman and state education minister Daljit Singh Cheema. He said that the impression being created that his party was trying to censor the film was “absolutely untrue”.
The SAD also sought Election Commission’s (EC) intervention in the matter, alleging that movie was a campaign mode by the AAP. Cheema asked AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to accept his party’s “role” in the making of ‘Udta Punjab’ as his “own tweets to welcome the film’s co-producer, Sameer Nair, have exposed the truth that the producer is an ‘active member’ of the AAP”.
Urging the EC to convene an all-party meeting on the issue, Cheema said that though prior approvals are needed for every mode of campaigning after the model code of conduct for elections comes into force, this is the first time such an attempt is made to “defame” the state and its people by “financing a three-hour film”.
“The AAP which is denying any link with the producers of ‘Udta Punjab’ stands exposed with the CEO of Balaji Telefilms turning out to be a senior member of the party’s communication wing,” alleged Cheema. “Now, there is conclusive evidence that an active AAP member had a major role in the production of Udta Punjab,” he added.
Urging AAP to stop “defaming” Punjabis, Cheema alleged that the AAP was all-out to prove that Punjab is a drug haven.
Lashing out at Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh for his announcement to launch uncensored CDs of the film, Cheema said it was “highly shameful” that a senior leader was promoting films that have “vulgar, shameless, indecent and abusive language”.
Cheema said recent developments have proved that the SAD’s contention of politics being played on the issue of drugs was “correct”.