The actor argued that Punjab's crime problems would not be possible without a nexus of the powerful, and asked why the BJP was silent on the drug problem

Actor Om Puri flays govt over Udta Punjab says he prefers AAP to BJPWikimedia Commons/EP Sajeevan
news Politics Sunday, June 12, 2016 - 16:56

Veteran actor Om Puri, who was most recently in the news for his statement that the country had no option but to sit in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lap, sounded a very different note when he appeared on ABP’s “Press Conference” to say that he preferred the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the BJP.

Congratulating the party and the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on the “great job” they had done in Delhi, he said that he hoped that the party would not run away again as it did when it resigned after its last 49-day tenure.

For much of the programme, Om Puri vented his ire at the central government for its handling of the “Udta Punjab” issue. Observing that the situation in Punjab was, in reality, terrible, he asked why the BJP was silent on the drug problem faced by the state. “No crime can happen without a nexus of powerful people. And the people with power are the police and politicians,” he said.

He further argued that the amount of research that goes into making a film like “Udta Punjab” is far in excess of even the research that the government itself conducts. “When the CM gives an order to the Minister, and the Minister orders the District Collector, the Collector takes along four policemen and four other officials to find out about the condition of Adivasis in the state. But he only goes as far as the jeep goes. There he sits in his forest bungalow and tells others to go find out what are the problems faced by people beyond that point,” he said, caricaturing how the government undertakes research and fact-finding.

“These young people do much research for their films. They are not trying to bring revolution. They are not picking up arms. It’s a film. But you won’t even allow the film to release. You will demand so many cuts in it.”

Characterising censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani as dictatorial, he said, “He is suppressing the voice of the people. He has no right to stop our voices from reaching the government, to which he is responsible.”

Pointing out the contradictions between Nihalani’s career as a film-maker and his actions as a censor, he added, “Throughout his life, he made commercial films… Now are you doing this to make the government happy? That is not your role.”

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