Once upon a time…. (Not at band camp), the BMC of Mumbai woke and decided to let its citizens paint walls to beautify the city. All ages put aside weekend plans and came forward, joined hands and painted in scorching temperatures just so that they could do their bit for their city. Thus the “Wall Project” was christened.
The response was overwhelming which led to phase two. Again, many ages, colors and kinds came forward; even new faces who felt they missed the opportunity the last time to participate came forward. Bearing the soaring temperatures, they toiled hard to ensure, their little wall in a gigantic city was pretty and a piece of themselves, regardless of what they painted.
Less than 24 hours later, social networking site Twitter was in a frenzy over the fact that pending movie releases promoters ( Aladin, Gair, Canvas, London Dreams) had stuck their posters all over a few walls even before the paint could dry.
They raised a hue and cry with users ranting in 140 characters to the actors, directors and so on from these movies . Complaining of disrespect and disregard. A few of these ranters belonged to the media and were quick to print articles and take quotes from disgruntled youth. A few even threatened to boycott the movies altogether.
We were loud enough that a few members from one of the movies apologized profusely and promised to take action. In the meantime a petition was set up to stop such acts of vandalism from happening again.
Now, here’s where I stop the story and put in my two cents. Fair enough we disliked the fact that “our” art could be posted over by some random film posters less than 24 hours of the painting. My issue is, while the film fraternity does have some say in this, how many of you know who sticks these posters up? How many of you know whether the walls in that area are authorized to stick bills or not? How many of you know that they employ young boys as cheap labor and get these children to keep up late nights so that they can make a quick buck by pasting posters?
What are you doing about that? Is it because they are not your concern you don’t do anything? Is it because the film fraternity paid them that the film house should be targeted? While I condemn the vandalization, I do not blame the movie directors, actors or producers solely. I blame the promotion companies, they know where the authorized and un-authorized areas are. I think our film fraternity needs to be stringent with their promoters.
Our business should not be to care whether a bunch of actors came and painted a symbol from their movie on a wall. Our business should not be that they were doing it as publicity. Our business should definitely not be to worry over their TRP’s. Our business should be that unauthorized sticking of posters, bills etc be condemned and stopped.
How hypocritical can we be to say they made this a publicity stunt? Didn’t we take our voices to the media too? Didn’t our friends amongst the media write out stories?
How hypocritical of us to think of maiming the wall painted by the only film crew that offered to help? Arent we just lowering ourselves to that level? Doesnt that take us back to square one?
Why should they inform our producers or directors of the posters that were put up? The issue lies in the promoters hands… All the other directors and producers were definitely accessed by media, they refused to respond, why lash out at the team that did. Shame on you! Who cares what kind of reporters they invited, the stories or their statements would be the same. There are millions of questions unanswered. And we can keep asking them, but then how much are we doing for our community?
Yes, I was present this morning, as Vishal, Shekar, Sujoy, Jacqueline and Ritesh painted that wall. It was insensitive on their part to paint a lamp, and I do not believe they did it without realizing it. But here’s where we stand right now, we created a humdrum about the vandalization, we blamed the film fraternity for “spoiling” our walls and we then ranted when the first available team responded almost instantaneously. What next? Our issue still stands that posters, bills are being stuck in unauthorized areas.
Earlier this morning, Vishal, Sujoy and Shekhar admitted that such acts are wrong. But they did not stop there, they assured that we can take this movement forward and we will have their support. We will get the leverage we need to ensure such acts don’t “deface” our city.
Now, I’d like to see, how many of you ranters and media people actually take this forward, you have the promise of a fight, you have a petition sent out by Vishal.
WILL YOU ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH? Or once your humdrum of being an angry young man/woman persona is gone so will the cause? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?