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Here's why CBFC praised M Cream, a film that chases marijuana


Director Agneya Singh reveals why the CBFC, which created obstacles for Udta Punjab, not only passed M Cream without any fuss, but also praised it.

Keyur Seta

Just days after the row of Udta Punjab's producers with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) ended, another Hindi film based on the use of drugs by the young is ready for release. Titled M Cream, this film is directed by debutant Agneya Singh, who believes there is a vast difference between his film and Udta Punjab. “It’s about four friends who go out for a road trip to the Himalayas in search of M Cream, the magical form of a drug. It’s a type of charas or hash,” he told Cinestaan.com.

So, is the film promoting drugs? “It’s not pro- or anti-drugs," said Singh. "It shows the reality that youngsters are using drugs. Personally, we need to draw a line between drugs like marijuana, used in our film, and cocaine. Marijuana is not even a drug, it’s a herb. It’s decriminalized in [some states of] the United States and other countries. It’s also used in Indian culture for many years. So, we feel it should be decriminalized and we want our film to open a debate on decriminalization of marijuana and also drugs like LSD.”

As the CBFC had strongly objected to Udta Punjab, an anti-drug film, it is anybody’s guess how they would have reacted to M Cream. “We had a festival version but we wanted to add more scenes," said Singh. "But because of the controversy surrounding Udta Punjab and other films, we decided to release the festival version. When we showed it to the CBFC, they actually praised the film! They gave a very positive response. In fact, they said more such films should be made in India. It has been passed without any cuts.”

Doesn’t this amount to hypocrisy on the part of the CBFC? Asked whether Udta Punjab may have been targeted due to its big star cast, the M Cream director said, “Because it had bigger stars and there was a political angle due to the upcoming Punjab elections. I think there was a political game going on with that film. Luckily that’s not the case with our film. I haven’t seen Udta Punjab, but some people felt it showed Punjab in a negative way. But M Cream is a life-affirming, positive film.” 

He added, “Our film doesn’t show people lost in drugs or show drugs in a negative light. It actually shows the positive side of experimentation by youth. It’s unfair to compare both films, but people seem to be doing that due to the drug angle.” 

Singh shared his experience of showing the film at some festivals. “People have really related to the film. Some older generations objected. But some older people also appreciated it saying it reminded them of growing up in the 1970s. You need to be open to a new experience to appreciate this kind of film.”

Starring Imaad Shah, Ira Dubey, Auritra Ghosh, Barry John and Tom Alter, M Cream will release on 22 July 2016.

Note: The headline of this report was changed to correct the impression that the film talks about decrimininalizing drug use.