Hostility to Udta Punjab baseless. Censor board must stick only to giving ratings

Things have become worse under the BJP government as it has placed its sympathisers as heads of cultural bodies.

 |  2-minute read |   29-05-2016
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I don't read newspapers. I don't have a television. I can't really get in the intricacies of the opposition being faced by the film Udta Punjab. But when an Akali Dal minister says that the film shows Punjab in bad light, he must be blind not to see what Punjab is going through.

What I know is that this country does not need a censor board. Its existence should be limited to just rating a film, and nothing beyond that.

Look, one needs to look at the broader picture. Who are the people deciding what should be consumed by the audiences? Frankly, it's too much for our bureaucracy and politicians to understand art. And they are the ones entrenched as heads of arts institutions everywhere. Things have become worse under the BJP government as it has placed saffron sympathisers as heads of cultural institutions.

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What tragic times we live in - we have to accept Ravi Shankar's drama on the banks of Yamuna as art. There was a proposal to revive the Triennale in Delhi, but was brushed aside by this government citing lack of funds. So wonderful. It can spend crores on publicity to celebrate its two years in power, but not a tiny fraction for funding of arts.

udta-punjab_052916054933.jpg An Akali Dal minister has alleged that the film 'Udta Punjab' showed the state in bad light. 

The government is scared of art and it is not really important in its scheme of things as the artist is seen as a Left-leaning jholawala. More importantly, women artists, as fierce liberal individuals, are a permanent eyesore for the right-wing.

Also read: Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt on how censor cuts on Love Games left him disgusted

Look at the state of affairs. The government has made even the national awards irrelevant by making sure that only popular cinema is seen as representing the national ideal. The rest have to be happy with the so-called regional category despite the fact that films from different regions offer much newer and bolder expressions. Clichés are being rewarded over cutting edge work. It seemed that the government was being vindictive after major writers and filmmakers returned their awards recently.

I felt nothing on hearing that my film Chauthi Koot was being awarded as the best Punjabi film. My first reaction was "keep it".

(As told to Sukant Deepak)

Writer

Gurvinder Singh Gurvinder Singh

The writer is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker. His films

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