Bombay HC announces verdict on Udta Punjab

Bombay HC announces verdict on Udta Punjab
Udta Punjab poster

After a two-week controversy surrounding the release of ‘Udta Punjab’, the makers have finally got some respite from the Bombay High Court.

The makers had approached the Bombay HC after the Censor Board’s revising committee had asked them to cut 89 scenes from the narrative despite giving it an ‘A’ certificate. Unfazed by the Censor Board’s directive, the makers challenged the cuts and moved Bombay HC last week.

During the first hearing on Friday, the HC had come out in support of the makers and asked the Censor Board to stick to ‘certifying’ the film and not ‘censoring’ it. It also questioned the board on why they had taken objection to the film’s association with Punjab, since it was based on the state’s prevalent issue.

After today’s hearing, the list of cuts accepted and declined by the HC are:

(Red= Edit Required, Blue= No Edit Required)

1. Change first disclaimer to an audio or video and read it as – ‘The film focuses on the rising menace of drugs and war against drugs and is an attempt to show ill-effects of drugs on today’s youth and the social fabric. We acknowledge the battle against drugs being fought by the government and the police. But this battle cannot be won unless the people of India unite against the menace.

2. Delete sign of Board of Punjab in the beginning. (Court: The title contains the word Punjab. So there is no need to delete scene of a sign board showing Punjab.)

3. Delete references to Punjab, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Tarantaran, Jashanpura, Ambesar, Ludhiana and Molga from all background and dialogues.

4. Delete two words from song one – ‘Chiitave’ and ‘H*r*mi’.

5. Delete ‘tom di c*ck jevhe chitti chitti c*ck’ and ‘c*ock’ in the entire song.

6. Remove all all cuss words from the movie – bh***c**d, c**d, t*tt*, chusa hua aam and others. (Court: Some of the words can be retained while some need to be deleted.)

7. Delete the word ‘election’, ‘MP’, ‘party’, ‘MLA’, ‘Punjab’ and ‘Parliament’. (Court: MP,MLA,Parliament. etc. are general words and do not refer to any outfit but reflect for general political work.)

8. Delete visuals of Sardar scratching/itching from song no three. (Court: Not needed. A scratching Sardar does not show the community in bad light.)

9. Delete close-up shots of injecting drugs from the entire film. (Court: Not necessary. Only one close up scene of injecting drug will not violate the mandate)

10. Delete the shot of Tommy urinating in front of the crowd. (Court: We don’t feel that this scene is necessary. There is much material for filmmakers to drive home their point even without this scene.)

11. Delete the line ‘Jamin Banzar te Aulad Kanjar’. (Court: This does not suggest anything about the state. Punjab is a land of warriors,they are not that sensitive.)

12. Change the name of the dog from ‘Jackie Chan’.

13. Second disclaimer of fiction to be increased according to audio/video.

The Court also observed:

1. The film was not made with elections in mind.

2. Extreme responses will not just curb but kill creativity.

3. The board is empowered to make cuts but they should be consistent with constitutional guarantee.

4. It is not for anyone to interfere on how makers show the issue unless and until the creative freedom is totally abused.

Finally, the Bombay High Court has directed CBFC to issue fresh certify to Udta Punjab with just 1 cut and disclaimers in 2 days. Moreover, CBFC’s demand for a stay has also been refused by the High Court.

Helmed by Abhishek Chaubey, Udta Punjab is a film based on rampant drug abuse in the state of Punjab. The highly-anticipated crime drama features Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Diljit Dosanjh, Kareena Kapoor Khan in the lead roles and is slated for a June 17 release.

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