Bombay HC directs Censor Board to clear ‘Udta Punjab’ with one cut

Mumbai: Striking down Censor Board’s order to clear the controversial ‘Udta Punjab’ with 13 cuts, Bombay High Court on Monday directed the CBFC to issue a fresh certificate to the movie within two days and with only one cut.

 

“We had asked the Court to delete one scene (Tommy Singh, the main protagonist urinating in front of the crowd) in the film,” said the lawyer of the film's producer Phantom Films, adding that the Court has also accepted a disclaimer that the filmmakers have offered to attach to the film.

 

Meanwhile, Abhishek Chaubey, the director of film ‘Udta Punjab’ breathed a sigh of relief. Appraising the courage of his producers to take the scuffle against Censor Board to the Court, he said that they would try their best to release the film this Friday, on its scheduled date.

The High Court’s judgement was very wise, said Shyam Benegal, Head of Committee for reforms in Censor Board. “We are living in a democracy, not in a paternalistic society where filmmakers are children,” he added, hoping that there would be a change in CBFCs attitude after the verdict.

Padma Shri awardee filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar seemed to be all praise for the Court’s verdict. “This is a landmark judgement for all filmmakers, the verdict is a game changer,” he said.

 

While hearing the plea filed by the Udta Punjab makers regarding the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)s suggested cuts to the film, the Court observed that the film does not “question the sovereignty or integrity of India by the names of cities, a reference to state or by a signpost."

 

The Court added that no one can dictate to a filmmaker how to make a film. "The CBFC is not required by law to censor; it is not for anybody to interfere unless and until creative freedom is abused.”

 

On Sunday, the censor board cleared the controversial film with 13 cuts under the A category, its chairman Pahlaj Nihalani told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

 

The film centred around the drug problem in Punjab had stoked both a political and artistic debate after the makers of the film had to face the wrath of CBFC, which threatened several cuts in the movie, including deleting references to Punjab, two graphically vulgar scenes and toning down an expletive-laden script.

With agency inputs