The Punjab government “wholeheartedly welcomes any effort that adds to its own efforts towards fighting the drug problem and spreading awareness against it. This includes any feature or documentary film or television programmes or other media efforts,” said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s advisor on national affairs and media, Harcharan Bains in a press release here on Thursday, on the eve of the release of ‘Udta Punjab’, the Bollywood movie on the state’s drug menace.
Referring specifically to the controversy around the release of ‘Udta Punjab’, Bains insisted that the state government “has always maintained that it had nothing to do with the controversy nor had it ever commented in any way on or against the movie”.
He added that CM Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal “have repeatedly and formally stated that they had not even seen the movie and there was no question of their commenting on it without actually seeing it”.
Bains, however, also said that he hoped the film would “not demonise the youth of the state” and that “its intent and flow would be in the direction of our own ongoing war on drugs”.
Further, according to Bains, Punjab government and the parties that comprise it (SAD and BJP) are strongly committed to the freedom of speech and of artistic representation of reality or even perceived reality.