I&B Minister Arun Jaitley talks about ‘Udta Punjab’ controversy

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Local Press Co 5-point Snippet

1. On Thursday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley spoke on the ‘Udta Punjab’ controversy and confirmed that the censor board will go through radical changes in the coming days.

2. The censor board sparked controversy after it asked the makers of Udta Punjab, a film based on rampant drug abuse in the state of Punjab, to cut 89 scenes from it’s narrative. The makers, refusing to give in to the dictat of the board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, decided to appeal to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

3. When asked about the controversy surrounding the film, Jaitley said, “I won’t say it is overboard. I don’t know this case because I have not seen this film in question”. He also added that the current system was not perfect and definitely required changes.

4. Recently the Benegal committee, headed by renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal, had made certain recommendations to the ministry in terms of bringing about a change in how a film was certified. While talking about the committee’s recommendations, Jaitley said, “There is a well documented report by Shyam Benegal, the first part of which has come to me which is under consideration. Over the next few days, we are going to announce some very radical changes in that”. He also added, “You will probably have a system where you will have to have a certificate. The correct word is certification and not censorship. Certification norms will have to be liberal.”

5. The minister also downplayed the controversy by citing subjective attitude of those involved in the process and claiming, “There are internal checks and balances. For instance, I look at the big picture and the big picture is a certification board, we popularly call it censor board and you have the appeal tribunal. Now, whenever you have a problem at the level of the first body, people go to the next slab and almost in 99% of the cases, with or without some changes, it gets cleared by the next body.”

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