Amidst the raging controversy in the aftermath of the death of the upcoming actor Sushant Singh Rajput, young talent in Bollywood, struggling to be heard but scared to be identified, are now demanding the development of a new Hindi entertainment hub in UP to restore dignity to Hindi language and salvage the pride of UP.
Puja Ballutia, a global award-winning script-writer echoing the sentiments of north Indian film industry professionals, technicians, and artistes in Mumbai has demanded that a new entertainment hub be developed in north India for Hindi films and television programmes.
Puja says Mumbai is over-crowded and the production expenses are going up phenomenally making life difficult for those artistes and technicians to survive who don't belong to Mumbai.
Puja Ballutia is a screenwriter of award winner Short films "SAB THEEK HAIN, MAI KAUN HOON/WHO AM I, BETI BHI BHAVISHYA, TRAUMA, MAI ACCHI HOON/AM GOOD, MAI AUR PAPA." Before becoming a writer, as an actress, she had appeared in more than a dozen TV advertisements, South Indian films & a Hindi film Titoo MBA (2014). Her recent foray into podcasting to promote Hindu mythology through "Mystical Puja" has been appreciated. Also, she was Air Hostess in Air India before becoming a media professional.
Puja wonders why the government is treating the entertainment industry as the least important. The news channels and people on social media are boosting their egos by talking negative stuff about the Film Industry but not initiating any serious steps to consider the issues faced by the Entertainment Industry and the problems of people working in this sector, particularly the creative people who bring entertainment to you. Today their livelihood is at stake. Why this discrimination, she asks.
Puja said “I am an MBA having done three years training in the Army wing of NCC along with graduation in commerce, a sports-woman with a diploma in Classical music and a black belt in Karate, previous to joining Aviation. But few of my colleagues when I was a cabin crew in Airlines, used to call me BEHENJI just because I chose to speak in the national language Hindi. Mostly the Hindi speaking guys are called BHAIYAS and girls addressed as BEHENJIS here. Whereas all those half-educated colleagues choosing to speak in slangs, usually shoot out abusive words in Hindi, after all, the national language is a relatable language."
“In our Hindi Cinema/TV industry as well, the scripts are encouraged to be written in the Roman and not in Devanagri script. Come on, discrimination with Hindi in the Hindi entertainment industry with the language that is the bread and butter of so many. I have high regard for actors and technicians from NSD and FTII who insist the script be given to them only in Devanagri because they respect Hindi Literature. Really don’t understand why people here feel ashamed to talk in Hindi and why they give step-motherly treatment to Hindi speaking citizens. Maybe Hindi speaking citizens are considered nationalists, is it..?
“It's a democratic country and each citizen has a fundamental right to have an opinion about their takes on various topics, so do I. In the last couple of months a lot of professionals from the Hindi Industry are circulating this a suggestion that I somehow feel might throw light on the issue, so I am posting this thought here.
"Chennai for Tamil Cinema, Hyderabad for Telugu Cinema, Bangalore for Kannada Cinema, Cochin for Malayalam Cinema, Kolkata for Bengali Cinema, and Ahmedabad for Gujarati Cinema. So now, Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, should do justice to the Marathi Cinema first.
Puja suggests "so far as the Hindi Entertainment Industry is concerned it can be shifted partially to Delhi/NCR, like we have Hindi news channels in the capital and commercial capital both. Hindi Cinema having most of the authentic writers, directors, makers, and artists coming from the Hindi heartland, it makes sense.
Of late the content being showcased and liked by people in Hindi Cinema & web-series proves our audience wants to see the stories from the roots. Thanks to OTT portals, they usually prefer authentic and relatable content. So Hindi Cinema can grow better in Hindi roots if the upcoming production houses set base in Delhi/NCR. It can also serve as an option, with audiences boycotting Bollywood now for whatever reasons.”
Also each day Mumbai is becoming the most expensive city in the country. This is plain injustice to the locals of this city. People in Mumbai are committing suicide when they are not able to earn a respectable living, Puja says.
Promoting Hindi Entertainment Industry in North India will reduce the crowd in Mumbai. Hence the load of Hindi Cinema Industry/glamour will shed from the heavy shoulders of Mumbai city. Indeed the cost of living of Mumbaikars to some extent will come down. This will have a salutary effect on the crime/corruption scene in Mumbai. It's high time the load of the overcrowded commercial capital Mumbai is evenly distributed.
Puja and many others like her struggling for a voice in the Mumbai film world is now demanding the development of a new Hindi entertainment hub in UP, preferably Lucknow or close to the upcoming Jewar international airport along the Yamuna Expressway.
“I think both Himachal and Uttarakhand is ideal for promoting a new film city, weather being pleasant round the year. Upcoming filmmakers can set up their bases in these new locations. Recall Gurgaon once used to be an agricultural town, but today it is the hub of IT companies.”
Promotion of Indian cultural values and nationalism is the need of the hour, Puja adds.