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What's in a name? Ask Karan Johar

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Karan Johar who has been one of the most politically correct filmmakers would not have imagined that his latest offering WAKE UP SID could be caught in an unsavory controversy. How could he have anticipated it, as he is man who is more into creative arena, but a political opportunity has been seized on the eve of elections, where the emotive issues are pushed to centre so that the real hard-core issues do not become uncomfortable for the political leaders to handle during the course of elections? The issue again that has been raked up is why Mumbai has been referred to as Bombay.

The moot point is that the Censor Board has cleared the film, and after that there should not be an extra-constitutional authority to demand change as then it impinges on the freedom of creative expression. Incidentally, the issue was also referred to in KAMINEY as well, and it was dealt with by Vishal Bhardwaj in a very sensitive manner.


In KAMINEY when Shahid Kapoor is confronted by Amol Gupte and, Gupte asks Shahid where he was born, Shahid says Bombay. When Bhope Bhai tries to correct him, Guddu replies that when he was born the city was known as Bombay. Identities are not so easy to be erased and this would have been the case with Ayan Mukherji when he wrote the film as in his subconscious memory Bombay still may be having an overriding presence as compared to Mumbai, and that is how it found expression in WAKE UP SID.

The moot point in the whole argument is that the nomenclature of the city has not been as per the conforming political norms and it has given a tool in the present politically charged atmosphere to make a capital out of it. WAKE UP SID is a film that is more urban in its demeanor and in the urban sphere the notion of Mumbai still has not sunk in and it is Bombay that still has nostalgic exuberance associated with it and it finds expression non-voluntarily in the creative oeuvre that seeks to juxtapose it there.

Creative medium seems to be becoming the most favourite whipping dog, and it is being demonstrated with sickening regularity now. May be the government has to think about it and reign in the disgruntled elements once the certifying agency appointed by the government clears the same. After all, in the censor board membership construct also comprises the local representation as well. Would this interference be a WAKE UP call for Karan Johar as well?

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