A battle royal has begun between the Censor Board and the makers of the film ‘Udta Punjab’. Producers Vikas Bahl and Anurag Kashyap have moved the Bombay High Court, seeking a copy of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) order which recommended an ‘A’ certificate and suggestions for multiple cuts in the movie. Removing references to Punjab, excessive use of expletives, close up shots of injecting drugs are said to be some of the Censor Board’s demands. But CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani has raised the controversy to a shriller level by alleging that Anurag Kashyap took money from AAP to make the film. Nihalani’s logic seems to be that since the AAP is eyeing Punjab which goes for assembly elections next year with the ruling Akali Dal facing anti-incumbency and Congress still not enjoying voters’ confidence, it serves the AAP’s purpose if a film depicting Punjab in bad light is released at this time. Meanwhile, the AAP has hit right back, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleging that Nihalini is under pressure from the Modi government not to release the film showing Punjab’s drug problem in stark detail. The Bollywood film fraternity has come out strongly in solidarity with the Udta Punjab team. Slated to hit the screens on June 17, the film has already got enough pre-release publicity. Whatever good it does to the film, it does no good if the Censor Board gets drawn into the confrontatiol politics being played out in the country.
Censors vs filmmakers