Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal has taken strong objection to the misrepresentation of facts amounting to defamation of Punjab in the trailer of the movie Udta Punjab, which was released on April 17.
The trailer (below) begins with actor Shahid Kapoor lying supine on the floor of a room reading out an English statement in Punjabi accent (with subtitles): “70 per cent of Punjab youth is in drug addict. If this is not stopped Punjab will soon become like Mexico.”
Despite the fact about increase in usage of drugs in the state in recent years, this statement made by the movie-makers appears to be total misrepresentation of facts . It effectively means that out of every 10 Punjab youth, seven were drug addicts – something that totally absurd and clearly a figment of the imagination of the movie-makers.
People who have travelled through Punjab even superficially, even without interacting with the locals at village level, would tell you that the only purpose of these kinds of figures is nothing more than to cause shock and awe, or defame, or simply declare Punjabi youth as the most drug-infested in the world.
The figures are quite to the contrary. An AIIMS study estimates that 0.75 percent of the total population of Punjab is addicted to drugs. As per the Chandigarh-based head of a national mainstream news channel, the most likely figure for the youths addicted could be no more than 10 percent. Another academic puts it at between 10 to 15 per cent. Not to say that this is a small number, but putting it at 70 pc is pure infamy, analysts feel.
Interestingly, the trailer has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
In a separate reaction to the movie trailer, Shiromani Akali Dal leader, Virsa Singh Valtoha said that singers who widely used drugs as themes in their songs to earn extra revenue were now acting in roles contrary to their songs. Such actors he said did not have any personal standing and could do anything for money, he said. Instead of outrightly rejecting the movie, talking to a TV channel he was more measured in his response, saying that the Akali party would oppose the movie if it defamed Punjab and would appreciate it if it gave a positive message. He, however, said that the movie trailer had certainly misrepresented certain facts and that the Punjab youth and the party would take up the issue.
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