Madhuri’s comeback film ‘Aaja Nachle’ banned in UP and Punjab

Madhuri Dixit is making her comeback in films after five years with Yash Raj film ‘Aaja Nachle’. However on the day of the release itself, the film has raked up a new controversy. The film has been banned by the Uttar Pradesh government in the state due to the use of derogatory words to a certain section of society in the title song of the film. The words imply a cast and class discrimination and hence the UP government has even written to the main center requesting the film to be banned all over India.
It is indeed unfortunate that Madhuri’s comeback film has run into trouble at the very onset. The film has been banned in UP as it hurts the sentiments of the Dalit community. Dalit organizations too raised strong objection against the offensive words used in the title song of ‘Aaja Nachle’. The derogatory line is ‘mochi chala banne sonar’ which means ‘a cobbler tries to become a goldsmith’ which tries to imply that the cobblers are the most inferior lot in society and that they cannot rise to a better position. This line promotes caste and class division and hence the state of UP has banned the film terming it as derogatory. Another state, Punjab also seems to have followed suit and banned the film.

However it is indeed embarrassing that such an error occurred despite the fact that the film has been cleared by the Censor Board who should have noticed such a vital aspect that could hurt people’s sentiments. Meanwhile the chairman of the Censor Board, Sharmila Tagore tendered her apologies on behalf of the board and said “This particular line has offended sensibilities of some people and we would like to apologise because it was never anybody's intention. I can speak on behalf of producers and our committee members who saw the film. The word mochi (cobbler) refers to a profession and not a caste in the context in which it has been used in the song. If somebody has made a mistake, there are better ways of dealing with it. There is no need to ban the movie. I think that is an over-reaction.”

Director of the film Anil Mehta and Yash Raj films too have also apologised for the grave error and have also agreed to delete the objectionable lines in the song. Anil Mehta said “We have requested all exhibitors to physically delete that one line from the film's print tomorrow.” Yash Raj films too issued an official statement saying “It was not our intention to hurt anybody. We have taken immediate steps to rectify the damage caused and have instructed all our distributors and exhibitors to delete the objectionable words from the song as of last night.” Meanwhile there is talk that the ban on the film may be revoked in UP and Punjab.

However the controversy created may work for the benefit of the film as it may lift the curiosity of audiences to go and watch the film. Only time will tell if this controversy has done major damage or any good. Meanwhile Madhuri’s performance in the film is definitely being appreciated by her loyal fans.