Wall project in Mumbai was vandalized recently (you can read more about it here), though neither I am a resident of Mumbai nor I was associated with the Wall project in Mumbai in any way, but I felt disgusted about it. Everything said and done, Wall Project was a very beautiful initiative to bring in the citizens to actually connect to their city and city to connect with its people. The vandalism against such an initiative is itself heinous but what affects me more is a bigger issue lying underneath.
Vandalism of the Wall Project, was an insult to the hard work, dedication of the people who stayed in the hot sun and put in a lot of effort with a dream to make their city beautiful and more to the city of Mumbai itself. The issue I am talking about here is suppressing of the educated common urban people. If we look at the demographics of the people who actually were on the ground for executing the Wall Project, were our common educated urban dwellers, not subscribing to a particular caste, creed, religion, ethnicity. The stood for what the spirit of Mumbai is, the cosmopolitan culture of the city. They were the ones who were not bothered whether it is called Mumbai or Bombay, independent of the name they wanted it to be beautiful and artistic.
Now the question I ask myself and may be the entire nation is,
What happens when Yashraj Films movie “Aaja Nach Le” have the words “Lohar” and “Sunar” in a song. The lyrics of the songs are changed. Reason: The movie might be vandalized as it doubles up as ethnic castes in India with the professions itself and might affect the feelings of the particular caste.
What happens when Sharukh Khan’s Billu Barber is released and word barber is dropped from the title of the movie. Reason the people object because the barber in the movie sounds derogatory to the barber community, and the Hairdressers’ Association of Mumbai members are invited to the premier of the movie
What happens when Karan Johar’s Wake Up Sid has a dialogue referring Mumbai as Bombay. He comes out with a public apology which is hung across on every ticket counter, because the objection was through the MNS and given the history they all knew that the movie would not be playing anywhere in Maharashtra if they don’t come out and be apologetic about it.
And now what happens when a group of young educated people trying to beautify their city? Their project gets vandalized. Any substantial action taken, no this would be ignored. Everyone knows for the fact they are educated commoners they don’t have a ethnic/caste/political affiliations. They won’t get the leverage; they are educated people and would be non-violent. They won’t take down to the streets and beat everyone up who is trying to buy the tickets of any movie which vandalized the Wall Project. So what is the best thing to do, step over them, ignore them and use all the hue and cry these commoners make for your free publicity bytes.
I certainly don’t want to believe this but I don’t why the cynical me deep down knows that If somehow the film makers know that if this is not rectified this very group might not let their movies play in any of the theatres in Mumbai, the walls would be cleared off with the posters overnight. I hate myself for believing in something like this in a country where Mahatma Gandhi taught us the lessons of non violence but Bapu that doesn’t seem to be working anymore…
Update: I have read that the posters for Aladin have been taken down after Ritesh Deshmukh and Sujoy Ghosh have apologized though no news on any action being taken on the publicity agency.