Yash Chopra: Mustard Porn and its Must-Avoids

Pankaj K. Choudhary

A facebook friend of mine with Barpagga surname had posted a status sharing his experience at Indira Gandhi International Airport. He said as soon as he revealed his surname, all his fellow Punjabis stopped talking to him. An old lady refused to accept anything that he offered to her.

I was shocked to read his status update. First of all I did not know until then somebody with Barpagga could also be a Punjabi. He told me that he was a dalit. That in Punjab too dalits are discriminated against. That they are not allowed to enter mainstream Gurudwara. Does not it sound like a cow-belt like social problem?

I have conjured up the idea of Punjab from watching Yash Chopraís films. In that imaginary Punjab there existed only Kapoors, Kohlis and Ahujas. So on and so forth but no Barpagga. I used to think that all Punjabis were hard workers, that Punjab was not plagued by poverty and social problems.

Donít blame me for having the false idea about Punjab, blame it on Yash Chopraís films. At the very young age, I was sold on to his films. loved to watch couple frolicking in the sarson fields.

Thanks to social media I realised that his films were nothing but the kind of smokescreen, hallucination that all entertainers create to intoxicate masses, to create false impression.

Oh no he was a show man. And his job was to entertain us. And he entertained us, he showcased and profited from his brand of Punjab. Good. But many marginalised Punjabis feel disgusted and humiliated by his films. His factory churned out many films, nut none of the films bother to show other Punjab. What held him back? I think he must be afraid to ruffle the feathers of those middle-upper caste Punjabi who were his captive audience. Thatís why he never dared to go beyond the fat Punjabi weddings and song and dance. His films keep perpetuating stereotypes.That any sensible man on earth could fed up with, get annoyed or worse get offended.

An ecstatic escape from reality?

Reacting to my Facebook status update. One Bihari friend (yours truly is also Bihari) remarked that at least he was better than Prakash Jha. He argued that Prakash Jha always shows Bihar in poor light as if Bihar is all about kidnapping, massacre and caste-related violence, as if no good thing exists in Bihar.

Prakash Jha too is a businessman. It is another matter that sometimes he pretends to be an activist. Activist he is not. Like Yash Chopra he too is driven by profit. He knows that there exists a big audience outside of Bihar who are desperate to watch that kind of films. And his films cater to that market.

Suppressed and alienated class is climbing the social and economic ladder. Though they have not entered film sector in a big way, but on social media, on alternative platforms, you will get to hear their voices, their side of history. Which is not as pleasant as Yash Chopraís films are. Their stories are not in conflict with reality. Thatís why they may not entertain us often. In coming days, we will hear many such stories which have been cleverly ignored by the mainstream Media and films.

Coming back to Yash Chopra, I know he is no more. But I am more worried about the legacy that he has left behind. There are many people who will carry forward his legacy. Yash Chopra will remain alive in mainstream films and daily soaps.