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To Pahlaj Nihalani: After The ‘Bold’ Films You Made, Why Object To ‘Udta Punjab’?

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By Venkatesh:

Censoring aficionado Pahlaj Nihalani,

Frankly speaking, I didn’t know you until your name popped up in ‘Udta Punjab’ controversy. When I saw you, everywhere on my news feed, I learned that you head the ‘censor board’ in India. You are in such abyssal love with the word ‘censor’ that you had proposed 89 cuts in the movie besides dropping the name ‘Punjab’ from ‘Udta Punjab’.

Nihalani Ji, I somewhat agree with you. The word Udta must be replaced with the word ‘Doobta’, as ‘Doobta Punjab’ sounds realistic. You have alleged that the movie aims to defame Punjab but isn’t a state grieved and defamed when 2.3 lakhs of its population are addicted to drugs? Drug addiction in Punjab is four times the world average. Pehlaj Ji, when I searched you on Wikipedia, it stated that you consider Narendra Modi as your hero. When our Prime Minister himself believes that “art can’t have any restrictions or limits”, how can you defy the words of your hero?

Indian Bollywood film producer and present Chairperson of the Central Board, Pahlaj Nihalani attends the funeral of the late Bollywood music composer and singer Aadesh Shrivastava in Mumbai on September 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Pahlaj Nihalani. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Though the content of Wikipedia can always be debated upon, I learned that you are also against movies like ‘PK’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and ‘Omkara’. I am also a citizen of the same country you belong to and believe me I cherished watching ‘PK’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. As a former film producer, I hope that you must have heard that ‘Cinemas are a reflection of our society’. By the way ‘Udta Punjab’ is just a mere reflection of Punjab. The people associated with the movie state that the condition in Punjab is even more appalling. Drugs are supplied across the border while sensitive information is likely leaked to drug suppliers by a few selfish insiders and hirelings. Let me ask you at a personal level: Aren’t you hurt and grieved by a mother’s cry when her son falls prey to substance abuse? As a former member of the film fraternity, you should rather have supported ‘Udta Punjab’.

You are against the use of ‘cuss words’ in movies. Had you forgotten this golden norm when you made movies like ‘Ek Aur Faulad’, ‘Aag Hi Aag’ and ‘Aandhi Toofan’. Your movies were such masterpieces that the great actor Pran is believed to have remarked, “Why didn’t I die before seeing this day!” I couldn’t help myself laughing when I heard the song ‘Khada Hai Khada‘ starring Anil Kapoor in your movie ‘Andaaz’. I was reminded of something else while listening to this! I guess if you were the censor board chief way back in 1984, you would have banned it; or are you planning to take a time machine from Hollywood to ban all your movies? Don’t do so! The world would surely be deprived of your mind-boggling creativity when it comes to producing movies.

After making some lame, weird and senseless movies for years how and why have you turned so ‘sanskari’? Are you trying to abide by someone’s order, trying to appease someone, or is this turnaround an effect of something else?

Nihalani Ji, contemporary global cinemas around the world have evolved. Nudity, sex, drugs, and violence in cinemas is no more a taboo. ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993) has all of these is still considered one of the greatest films ever. A movie can have all these and still be great and enjoyable. The Indian youth understands this and is ready to enjoy a new movement of realistic films. The huge popularity of shows like ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘AIB’ and ‘BB Ki Vines’ among the youth clearly indicates this trend. Keep your illusory culture to yourself. We are fed up of this.

Also read: How “Bad Light” Is The Censor Board’s Latest Excuse To Ban Films.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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