The public is the biggest censor: Bombay HC on Udta Punjab

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Udta Punjab movie poster

Anurag Kashyap and Vikas Bahl, co-producers of the upcoming film ‘Udta Punjab’, had moved Bombay High Court opposing Pahlaj Nihalani led Censor Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) decision of not certifying the film.

The Board’s Revising Committee had asked for 89 cuts in the film (many of them refer to abusive language and drug use) and asked the makers to drop references to ‘Punjab’ in the film.

During the court hearing, on Friday, the Bombay High Court spoke in favor Udta Punjab and lambasted CBFC for giving unnecessary publicity to the film. Here a summary of the court’s arguments and observations:

1. If Goa could be shown as a place, where drug abuse was rampant, why not Punjab. Goa was also a maligned state and they too had drug problems. But still the CBFC cleared the film ‘Go Goa Gone’, which made it appear as if the state was all about wine and women.

2. Removing words such as election, MP, MLA do not make any sense. “The film industry is not made of glass that you need to ‘handle with care.’ If you ask for so many cuts, then what is the point? The audience knows. Has CBFC discharged its functions from 1952 onwards with utmost care? We are fed up of all this,” said the jury.

3. CBFC’s job is not to ‘censor’ but to ‘certify’. “The public is the biggest censor. We want creative people to survive and the industry to survive. You have to show the reality. Whether it is TV or cinema, let the people see it. Everybody has a choice”.

4. When the CBFC lawyer sought removal of the word ‘Punjab’ from the title of the movie, the court inquired about the logic or reasoning behind deleting the word.

5. The Bombay HC also indicated that it will allow the release of the film with only one cut, out of the 13 recommended by the board.

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.

The verdict on the ‘Udta Punjab’ hearing will be announced by the HC on Monday.

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