He is at it again. The self-appointed guardian of morality in Maharashtra Minister for Cultural Affairs has instructed the Stage performance Scrutiny Board to censor each and every word that goes into making a song especially rock music.
It was only last week, that Pramod Navalkar rocked the rock world when he decided to “strictly implement censorship rules on all rock songs performed at any venue in the state”. The Minister was upset over a party that was busted last fortnight near Marve beach.
The police arrested 35 youngsters at the party, many of them high on rugs and including in wanton behaviour.
The 65-year-old Pramod Navalkar, who is close friend of Chief Minister Manohar Joshi had thrown a fit about two years ago over sanitary napkin advertisements on TV and said he was appalled about the advertisement contents. “What is this? why are they hammering it? Chee”, he had gone on record and vowed to stop the ‘corruption’ of young minds.
Last week his target was Rang Bhavan in south Mumbai where Mumbaites, especially rock fans, rock to the music of country’s top most rock bands.
Calling youngsters the future of the country, Mr. Navalkar had pointed out that rock shows and rave parties were misleading the youths, which encourage drugs and liquor.
It is another matter that within walking distance of Mantralaya (state government headquarters) or for that matter within three minutes distance of the police commissioner’s office near Crawford Market in Mumbai, any quantity of drubs, liquor, lewd pornographic material is available for those willing to pay a price.
It was only after a lot of protests throughout last week that Pramod Navalkar clarified that there was nothing new in censoring rock music lyrics. Yet never mind if the orders to the stage Performance Scrutiny Board to censor rock songs were issued as late as last week.
What is of significance is that Rang Bhavan, the venue for such rock shows, is relatively inexpensive and provides a good avenue to various rock groups to exhibit their talent.
The sudden clamp down by Navalkar, who feels that youngsters of the country are being corrupted, will make it difficult for rock and other musical groups to entertain their fans in the coming months in Mumbai.
By Ketan Narottam Tanna