Finally I saw the so very controversial Udta Punjab. First things first….I loved it. Why ? Probably for all the reasons that it became controversial much before it released . Drugs ? Well this was my first up and close brush with the menace as it is corroding the society. Or as up and close as it can get ,blessed as I am to have a life where I spend few hundred bucks to get a closer look at a problem that is ruining lives and generations. With my cosmopolitan sensibility and upbringing , drugs till now had merely meant rave parties and the sleazy under belly of the life of the rich and famous. That it is eating up our society from within at a very grass root level, this stark reality I faced for the first time. Or whatever sorry imitation of facing it was, sitting in an air conditioned hall, munching on popcorn and sipping cold coffee. We indeed are a spoilt, privileged lot and the sooner we realise it ,the better it is. Maybe that realisation can jolt us out of our happy lethargy and incessant complaining .
The central theme of drugs brings me to the super “A”(AAA ? An acceptable rendition of XXX ?) certification that our blessed Censor Board would have liked to give it and that too after the ridiculous 190 or so proposed cuts. I for one would definitely want my son to see it and much before he turns 18. I don’t think a menace like drugs will wait for the potential target to touch the legal adult age and then strike. Lest my son too thinks of drugs as the done thing limited to rave parties of Goa, I would want him to see it in all its naked ugliness. ..”see” as much as he can from his privileged station in life. However, I would want him to see the movie not just to see the murky side of life but also the indomitable spirit which in fact makes life worth living..the never say die spirit, beautifully captured by the nameless character played by Alia Bhat. Rising against all odds ,like the phoenix, hers is indeed the admirable spirit that we as human beings are blessed with and need to wake upto.
Coming to the other objectionable part of the movie that earned it the AAA certificate – the “crass, vulgar language” of the movie where there is barely a dialogue without a cuss word , much to the anguish of the Censor Board. Would I want my 11 year old to hear and to that extent learn this kind of language ? No. And that is the only reason why I would not want him to watch the movie right now…soon enough but not yet. The social setting of the movie probably warrants such liberal use of the choicest of expletives though I do believe that the sophistication, refinement we see around us is but a veneer. Scratch the surface and it reveals pretty much the same vulgarity underneath, albeit in a different form. The hypocrisy of the urban intelligentsia is such that it makes English swear words more than acceptable…cool , hep even. Their hindi renditions however are a different story. Pray what makes “I am so fucked up” more acceptable than “Chutiya kat raha hai”? When it suits us we will deride the use of English, holding high the banner of our national language and pride, happily forgetting that English is today a global language. But a cuss word in this colonial language is perfectly acceptable; In our mother tongue, however, not so much. I, for one, am not particularly impressed, repulsed or intrigued with the use of expletives by anyone in either of the 2 languages, in fact , in any language. To me, resorting to the use of these words indicates an alarming bankruptcy of ideas and inability to articulate a wide variety of emotions and thoughts we human beings are blessed with. In any case we are nation obsessed with banalities where it’s ok to murder in the name of religion but not ok to release a movie that raises uncomfortable issues in a language that is widespread ; where “fuck you” is the “takia kalaam” of the educated urban youth but “chutiyapa” is vulgar. My take on all this uncalled for hullabaloo and controversy ? I loved the movie and anyone who has a problem with it can take a flying fuck ; my life has plenty of chutiyapas of its own to bother with non issues !