Should UDTA PUNJAB be stripped off its reality?

One of the main reasons of making movies is to raise awareness or educate the public about a certain subject. Using real life instances to get a point across in a movie is completely unavoidable and necessary.

Director Abhiskek Chaubey’s upcoming movie, ‘Udta Punjab’ explores the subject of narcotics use in the state through various characters. However, it is facing flak from the Central Board of Film Certification for being derogatory and misleading from reality. If reports are to be believed, the CBFC wants the word “Punjab” to be removed from the title of the movie, slated for a July 17th release. Also, the movie is supposedly being hammered with a list of 89 cuts, not yet communicated to the producers Phantom Films and Balaji Telefilms. The CBFC also reportedly wants the movie to be devoid of all references to the state of Punjab including its elections situation. It’s characters may show traces of being Punjabi, but should be identified as such.

An anguished Anurag Kashyap, one of the producers referred to having lack of freedom by saying, “I always wondered what it felt like to live in North Korea .. Ab to plane pakadney ki bhi zaroorat nahin.”

“There is no film more honest than UDTA PUNJAB… And any person or party opposing it is actually GUILTY of promoting drugs,” Kashyap further added.

"We object to the intention of the movie. Drug issue is not only restricted to Punjab. The problem is throughout the world. This movie is to defame Punjab," said the leading Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Prem Singh.

However, demanding a movie to be stripped off its intentions is like tampering with reality. No filmmarker wants to be discouraged from making films by facing cuts to their movie, it is like a death sentence imposed on them.

If CBFC is to be followed, filmmakers are restricted from making movies based on social and political themes, they can be from no-man’s land, because otherwise that’s where they will be sent if they dare to be real.