Saturday, December 1, 2007

A filmy reality

The reality for many people is just filmy: as thin as a strip of film: thin and light; hazy and misty; sometimes fine and gauzy.

It has all happened at an amazing pace. Yesterday afternoon, Madhuri Dixit's comeback movie Aaja Naachle hit the screens. By evening, the discusison generally centred around how good the movie is, how well she has performed, how successful has her comeback been, etc. Around midnight news came in that Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati had banned the movie across her state. Reason: a line in a song that is offending to the Dalits, or the backward caste people.

The damage control has been equally fast-paced. Seasoned producer Yash Chopra within hours of the late-night diktat, sent out instructions to get the offending line removed. By today morning, we have had apologies and clarifications pouring in on the lines of "o, we never thought it would hurt people", " we never meant it", "we are really sorry you people are hurt", etc etc.

Surprises didn't end. Many parties woke up to find how Mayawati had beaten them hollow in encashing an opportunity. Isn't that what politics is all about? Better late than never, thought Punjab and Haryana governments, so they too banned the movie, even though it was many hours since the makers of the movie had got the lines deleted and many apologies had been made. And, most interestingly, the UP government had also lifted the ban within hours of it being clamped.

This is a superb example of what our priorities are, what excites us, what is the sense of our accomplishment, what's our idea of the future.

Cynicism apart, one must notice the silver lining. Here was an issue which could turn explosive. Mayawati saw it coming before anyone else, grabbed it; and closed the issue in a matter of hours.

All said and done, rarely have decisions been taken so fast and with such efficiency. The winners: Mayawati and makers of the movie; and of course, Madhuri Dixit.

I only wish such quick decisions were taken for many other pressing issues that plague all of us; issues wherein basic necessities of livlihood are involved: food, health, education, shelter and transport (that's my favourite order.) What Mayawati achieved was victory that has no bearing on the life and limbs of people. What she did was she prevented some other political party from possibily making political capital.

She and people of her ilk -- who are, whether we like it or not, invaluable players in a democrartic society -- should be perceptive about, focus on and act on -- not lines of film songs but -- matters of far wider import and impact, that have a beairng on people's aspirations, livelihood and comfort.


  1. I was planning to add a note regarding this in Chithravishesham also. Then I felt, it's not required there. :)

    I think the offensive word is 'mochi' in 'Aaja Nachle Nachle', the title song. Censor Board Chairman, Sharmila Tagore also apologized for the error caused from their part and she explained like, they took it as a profession not as a caste name.

    I too think the controversy was totally unnecessary, and even if there was an offensive word, it only helped to project it. In many parts of India, it's still screening without censoring, the soundtrack was released several months back and even if they meant it as a profession, now people will think it in the Mayavati way.

    Is this a purposeful action from Mayavati? to give the film an additional boost? There's a chance. The film was not doing good as expected in the opening day and I think this will make people go to the theater to see what's in it to get banned!

  2. heard that madhuri took the next flight back to LA...Hope the movie is good though!