Yogi Adityanath's Decision For Better Content In Bhojpuri Cinema: Films Displaying Vulgarity Will No Longer Get State Subsidy
Discouraging vulgarity, that had become mainstream in Bhojpuri cinema, is a much-needed and important first step.
Starting from this, much more can be done in the service of Bhojpuri, that is mother tongue to millions in UP and Bihar.
The Yogi Adityanath government has reportedly taken a decision towards discouraging the perceived indecency, vulgarity and obscenity in Bhojpuri films and songs. Reports say that the Adityanath-led government has taken a decision to not give or to halt subsidy to films and songs that use or promote indecent content.
The step comes amid concerns regarding the use of Bhojpuri for negative messaging via entertainment that is poor in form. It comes amid concerns for preserving the inherent sanctity, beauty and cultural richness of Bhojpuri and of culture explored through it.
Noted artiste and vocalist from Uttar Pradesh Malini Awasthi has welcomed the move. She has said that the step should have been taken much earlier, and that the government perhaps gets compelled to take such decisions when the society itself shows the inability to draw the line and to show control. She has said that if such films got the subsidy prior to this decision, they must now be rejected.
Malini ji has said that bringing out the beauty of the boli, which is the culture and tradition of a region, is the duty of the artistes themselves. Malini ji is one of the prominent voices intensifying the narrative on the need to reclaim the pride and beauty of Bhojpuri through culture, folk music, and finer aspects of boli and language within the boli.
The idea behind Adityanath's decision is a small yet a giant step. It seems driven by an urge to make Bhojpuri reclaim its cultural space in the true and the real sense in Uttar Pradesh.
It also seems directed at achieving a much needed change in societal attitudes towards Bhojpuri amid the inflow of entertainment products that do not seem to convey the valued expression in Bhojpuri. Or of products that go against Bhojpuri's cultural and emotional value held by the people who call Bhojpuri their mother tongue.
Adityanath's move is an essential step that would go a long way in highlighting the need to celebrate the aesthetics in and through Bhojpuri.
Gorakhpur MP Ravi Kishan, who is one of the leading senior artistes and performers from the Bhojpuri film and entertainment industry, has posted a message on Twitter on this noticeable cultural intervention in the state.
Ravi Kishan has said that the Adityanath-led government has decided to not give any subsidy to Bhojpuri films or songs that use indecent content or promote indecency. He says in a video message posted on Twitter that songs or films -- that are "ashleel" (vulgar/indecent), will not be given subsidy from the state government.
The reference to indecent content, indecency, inappropriate content perhaps, is understandably, directed at the indecent content that is expressed in films and songs using Bhojpuri as the medium. He refers to Bhojpuri as "ma ki boli" -- his mother tongue -- the mother tongue of many in Uttar Pradesh.
He says in the video message: "Jo bhi Bhojpuri film mein ashleelta ho, ashleel gaane hon, samaj ko kharab karne waali baat ho, samaj jis se dooshit hota hai, Bhojpuri samaj par aarop lagta hai ya hamari boli par, ma ki boli par, us ko sarkar se anudaan, jo subsidy kehte hain, jo Uttar Pradesh se milti thhee, wo ab nahin milegi."
Ravi Kishan has thanked CM Yogi Adityanath, adding that he was fighting towards the cause of preserving the sanctity of Bhojpuri when Adityanath heard him on the issue. He has thanked Adityanath for understanding the sensitivity and the depth of the delicate details surrounding Bhojpuri.
He adds that Adityanath met him last week -- suggesting perhaps that the meeting last week helped in reaching a decision on the matter. "Poojya Maharaj ji, aapko dhanyavad, yeh nirnay, pichhle hafte hum mile thhe, aur main iskee ladai lad raha thha."
Two words used in his video message -- stand out. "Seekh" -- lesson and "chabuk" -- whip. He says that the step will be a lesson for and whip to all those who serve indecency/vulgarity in Bhojpuri -- those people -- who have over the period of five-six years brought an indecent market to Bhojpuri. "Hum logon ko sharam aati thhee (we would feel ashamed/embarrassed)".
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar account for a large audience for Bhojpuri films and the films are also popular in Mumbai, Gujarat and regions where migrants from the Hindi belt live and work. The UP government, in order to encourage Bhojpuri films shot in the state, gives a subsidy. In 2018, the Adityanath government revised the existing film policy. In 2018, Ravi Kishan had met senior BJP leader Sushil Modi and urged him to provide subsidy to films made in Bhojpuri shot in Bihar -- on the lines of the subsidy provided to Bhojpuri films shot in Uttar Pradesh.
In the post on Twitter on 9 July, Ravi Kishan added that it is a big decision coming from the Adityanath government. He concluded the video by repeating the message -- saying that those people who make indecent songs or indecent films in Bhojpuri will not be given the subsidy from the state government.
"Dhanyavaad, poojya Maharaj ji, aapka," he ends the message, making it clear that his cause was heard and taken by Adityanath himself, and the chief minister himself was instrumental in helping it reach a decisive conclusion.
Noted actor and comedian entertainer Raju Srivastava, president, Uttar Pradesh Film Vikas Parishad, too, has highlighted the matter. He has shared a news clipping on Twitter, in which the step from Adityanath-led government towards putting reins on Bhojpuri films that spread "ashleelta", has been highlighted.
Reportedly, Adityanath has taken the step after expressing concerns on the increasing indecency in Bhojpuri songs and films. The Jagran report mentions that Adityanath has acted upon a proposal from Srivastava looking at the "increasing indecency" in Bhojpuri films and songs -- amid preparations for establishing the film city in the state.
Srivastava reportedly met Adityanath and spoke to him on the worrying effects of the indecent content in Bhojpuri films and songs on the society. The Jagran report mentions that Adityanath, when requested by Srivastava to bring a measure that will work in putting a stop to indecent content, said that films and songs that promote indecency will not be given subsidy and that the subsidy to such films and songs must stop.
Srivastava has reportedly highlighted the role of the "screening committee" in giving a go ahead to scripts of films, and that of the censor board. This could lead to further developments on the issue.
Ravi Kishan's message on Twitter is receiving reactions from Twitter users. One user has posted a message saying that Bhojpuri is beautiful and owing to the use of indecent content and item songs, he/they are unable to watch Bhojpuri films at home with family members.
Another user thanks Ravi Kishan via his post for the support to their concern and cause for Bhojpuri. He says that the Bhojpuri samaj has immense expectations from him (the Gorakhpur MP). He adds that on their level and the local pitch, they, too, are working to cleanse (understandably of impurities/indecency) Bhojpuri.
Another user has said that the action is in a good direction, it will deter such films and content and that the government must censor Bhojpuri films. Yet another user posted a message in response to Ravi Kishan's post saying that strict action must be taken against people who serve indecency in Bhojpuri films.
The emotion for and towards Bhojpuri truly lies in its culture-aligned use, in content that explores the expression of Bhojpuri speaking children and masses, in folk songs that celebrate the land. It lies in its use during rituals, gender narratives and festivals celebrated by the Bhojpuri speaking communities. Adityanath's step is a good start for one reason.
These films and songs would also possibly not add anything to Bhojpuri culture or to the lives of Bhojpuri-speaking people or to the state (UP) that serves as a cradle to Bhojpuri. Viewers deserve better.
However, Aditynath's role in the cause for Bhojpuri and in weaving back the related cultural pride, needs to be beyond and much bigger than the essential act of pulling out and pulling away Bhojpuri from the shallow use in bad entertainment. He needs and must receive 20 great ideas from Bhojpuri-speaking communities in order to implement the best 7 (at least) to be able involve the masses, artistes, doers, thinkers, speakers and creators who do and would matter to Bhojpuri, its preservation and propagation.
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