By Arun Fulara. Posted on August 01, 2016
"The idea of marijuana as harmless and happymaking is making its way into the cool new family film: Shandaar turns not eating meat on Tuesdays into an extended gag involving magic mushrooms, while Kapoor and Sons has a grandfather (Rishi Kapoor) sharing a joint with his warring grandsons.
But any conversation about drug consumption in Hindi films should really include the narcotic that Indian civilization has sanctioned since time immemorial: bhang. Unlike cannabis rolled into cigarettes, whose popularity comes via a firang route, bhang is made by grinding cannabis leaves into paste and eaten (see Shrilal Shukla's classic novel Raag Darbaari for a paean to the process). Sometimes mixed into sweets (or milky thandai on Holi), bhang is not just socially licensed but ritually encouraged.
And while they may be new to dope-smoking, our films have always treated bhang as a gentle inducement to hilarity. Think of Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz singing Jai Jai Shiv Shankar as they careen down temple steps, or Amitabh Bachchan breaking into the rambunctious Khaike Paan Banaraswala in Don, or my all-time favourite: the bhang pakodas in Angoor which make Aruna Irani amorously giggly and Deven Verma imagine a toad to accompany his rendition of Preetam Aan Milo. "
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