Archive for the ‘India’ Category

A few days back, good friend Ashwin had presented his ‘two cents’ on his support for the Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’ comments on the ban on smoking and drinking on-screen. I wanted to put forward my ‘do paisa’ on this, but on a broader scale.

The problem with the governments that have been ruling our country has been their ‘I am your Momma’ attitude in most areas. And like thumb-sucking babies, we are forced to acquiesce.

Smoking is injurious to health, they say rightly. And it is displayed in fonts, which are perhaps as big as the manufacturer’s brand name on the cigarette. And if an adult still buys and smokes cigarettes, it is his choice, which needs to be respected. After all, it is the same government which fills its coffers by collecting crores of rupees the cigarette manufacturers pay as taxes each year. Will these companies be able to survive without consumers? And if public health is so much of a concern, why don’t we get together and ban cigarette manufacturing altogether instead of asking stars to stop smoking on screen. Aren’t we running out of excuses, on the lack of fundamental health care in most places in India? Where are our priorities? Coming back to movies, murder and rape scenes are still a ‘yes-yes’, as if they are less harmful to health. How long will the Momma government continue to insult the intelligence of the average movie-goer by stating that he/she will get influenced by on-screen occurrences.

The state assumes us to have impressionable minds, and bans depiction of violence and sex. Fashion Television is still banned in some of the states, for its ‘objectionable’ content. If an outright ban is the only solution, what do we have the concept of certification for? On the lighter side, I know a fair number of friends, to whom, FTV acts as an influence to study late into the night. Not that the ban seems to help the cause of the nation anyways, going by the figures of children being manufactured a-la bolts in fastener factories.

Moral policing applies to creativity also. In a country where chancing upon creative and meaningful movies is as rare as finding a well-maintained road in Bangalore, people like Kamal Hassan, Mani Ratnam, Aamir Khan and a few others provide some relief. Whenever controversy’s child Kamal Hassan decides to make a movie, the mischief mongers in some of the parties start licking their lips. They say he kisses on-screen, promotes atheism and is now destroying idols. The producer of Dasavatharam was forced to come out stating that the movie will change atheists to theists. Why is changing from atheism to theism considered ok and the reverse is not? I am not an atheist, but I believe that every individual should have the freedom in choosing what he wants to be and what he chooses to do.

The restrictions on freedom of expression, speech and creativity have been hampering the land for too long now. If Jawaharlal Nehru had appreciated the benefit of competition and creativity, instead of telling industries what to manufacture and how much to manufacture, India would have been a developed nation by now. I dream of seeing an India led by an administration, which treats me as an adult and appreciates my choices, instead of holding my hand and telling ‘Hush, my baby, baby, don’t you cry’.


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Dutt’s the way

IMHO, all this noise about the judgement meted out to Sanjay Dutt being unfair is, well, just noise. The fact is that he carried arms and if he claims that it was for his protection (yeah, right), then he should have taken prior permission. And if he was not a celebrity, he would have been behind bars a long time ago with a much more severe punishment.

Sanjay Dutt has some good qualities as an actor and might be a much more sober and reformed person now. But if he had been acquitted, it would have set a terrible precedent, since his has been one of the cases with better clarity. Till he walks out free, which I think will be much sooner than the remaining 4.5 years as he is expected to behave well in jail, folks should be satisfied with this version.

As I write about this, Madani has been acquitted from the Coimbatore serial blasts case. Huh!

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