Finally, after many rounds of tug of war between Central Board of film Certification (CBFC) and the makers of Udta Punjab’, we may have found a winner. Udta Punjab is indeed releasing on 17th June (Friday) with just one scene changed from the original script. Udta Punjab is an Indian Crime Thriller written by Abhishek Chaubey and is based on drugs.
What started as a small argument had somehow turned into an outrage on the social media. The rumour of Udta Punjab getting completely banned by the CBFC started doing the rounds causing mass outrage on social media. Then, it was clarified that the film was passed but with around 40 scenes to be cut. Then, the film team approached the Revising Committee who sent the film back with 81 cuts. That many number of cuts would have meant that nothing was left in the film anymore. Anurag Kashyap, who co-produced the film took charge and revolted against this unfair system. He even tweeted criticising Pahlaj Nijalani, the Head of CBFC for his decision of omitting ‘Punjab’ from the title of the film. Pahlaj Nijalani too hit out, calling Anurag Kashyap as an AAP supporter and accusing him of taking money from Arvind Kejrival’s party to sponsor his film. He even accused them of having a hidden propaganda behind making a film that according to the chief, maligns the name of the state of Punjab.
Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor starrer Udta Punjab garnered a lot of support, not only from Bollywood and Political Parties, but also from all the audience across social media platforms. After all this fuss regarding the 89 cuts imposed by CBFC on the film, the censor board reduced the number of cuts to first 13, and then finally to just 1. The producers of the film described the ruling as a victory for democracy.
The film board had said that they thought the movie portrayed Punjab in a bad light. The proposed cuts included removing every mention of the word ‘Punjab’ from the film, deleting swear words as well as a number of other words such as ‘parliament’, ‘legislators’ and ‘elections’. The censors had also said that the film questioned the sovereignty of India, but the court rejected this argument.
The judge said “We have read the script in its entirety to see if the film encourages drugs. We do not find that the film questions the sovereignty or integrity of India by mentioning the names of cities, or referring to a state or by a signpost”. Though the judges ordered them to remove one particular scene in which they showed a character urinating, and also ordered them to change the disclaimer.
The film director, Abhishek Chaubey told reporters outside the courtroom that he accepted the order to delete a scene showing the lead character urinating into a crowd while under the influence of drugs. He also said that he would add a disclaimer specifying that the film was not against any specific state and that he did not support drug abuse of any type and was also against the use of swear words.