A big win for ‘Udta Punjab’ makers in Bombay HC

RSTV Bureau
File photo of CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani. Photo: PTI

File photo of CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani.
Photo: PTI

A day after Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani cleared ‘Udta Punjab’ with 13 cuts and an ‘A’ certification, the Bombay High Court has come down heavily on the certification board and has asked the regulator to clear the film with just one cut.

The film will now release as scheduled on June 17, with just one cut with an ‘A’ certification.

Bombay High Court was hearing a plea of the Filmmaker’s body which had challenged the initial 89 cuts proposed by the censor board. The Board also wanted the director to drop all references to Punjab, which the filmmakers called ‘ridiculous’.

In a big victory for the filmmakers, the Bombay High Court on Monday cleared the film and asked the director Abhishek Chaubey to delete just one urination scene from the film.

The film industry was up in arms against the film certification board and its chief Nihalani. They called for a complete overhaul of the censor board and accused Nihalani of suppressing creativity deliberately.

The court also rapped the CBFC and said that it was not empowered by law to censor films as the word censor is not included in the Cinematograph Act.

The high court also clarified that the film does not defame Punjab, nor was it made with the Punjab polls in mind. The court also made it clear that the film does not encourage drug addiction.

“Extreme responses will not just curb but kill creativity,” said the court while warning the censor board.

Reacting to the verdict, Abhishek Chaubey, the Director of the film Udta Punjab said that he was greatly relieved by the court’s order and looks forward to the release of film on its scheduled date.

Udta Punjab deals with the menace of drug abuse in Punjab. The sensitive subject led to much drama, including mudslinging between Anurag Kashyap and Pahlaj Nihalani before the director went to court.

Just a day before the Bombay High Court verdict, the censor board cleared the film with 13 cuts, instead of the proposed 89 cuts.

“We have today cleared Udta Punjab under A (restricted for adult audience) category after 13 cuts,” Nihalani told reporters on Sunday.