Dismissing the CBFC’s plea, the Bombay high court cleared release of controversial Bollywood movie Udta Punjab with only one cut. The verdict came as a huge relief for the film makers who fought in the court for the release of the movie, without massive cuts suggested by the censor board in the leadership of Pahlaj Nihalani.
The court directed to cut one scence from the movie in which the main protagonist played by Shahid Kapoor seen urinating publicly at a concert.
Ruling on the censor board’s cut to the new Bollywood movie filming drug abuse in Punjab, the Bombay High Court observed that it is up to the director to choose the setting, pattern, and the theme of the movie.
The high court bench stated that there was no justification from the censor board side, for asking for deletion of signposts in the movie. “We have read script in entirety to see if film encourages drugs. We do not find the film questions sovereignty or integrity of India by the names of cities, reference to state or by a signpost,” the court said.
The HC also stated that the movie was a bid to depict the drug abuse in the state and there was nothing in the script that questioning the state sovereignty. The court observation came as a relief for the movie makers including the movie co-producer Anurag Kashyap who fought for it through online and offline means.
The bench also said that the CBFC can only suggest the cuts and it does not have any authority to censor a movie. “It is not for anybody to interfere unless and until creative freedom is abused,” the court said.
The characters in the movie have depicted all facets of drug addicts and it has also shown the fate of cops struggling to curb this growing menace in the state, the bench stated.
The final verdict of the court is yet to come.
Meantime, earlier the day, the censor board has granted an ‘A’ certificate and 13 cuts to the movie.
“Udta Punjab” will be out in the theatres with an ‘A’ certificate and 13 cuts, said censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, adding that the film’s makers were never asked to drop Punjab from the title.
“‘Udta Punjab’ has been passed with an A certificate (restricted for adult audience)… We have given it 13 cuts,” Nihalani told reporters.
He said now the ball is in the producers’ court. “The CBFC’s job is now over. It is now up to the producer to go to the court or tribunal. We will implement the order,” Nihalani said.
“Whether they are going to the court or tribunal, and what decision is the court giving, that’s for them to see. The producer claimed that we had asked for change in the title, but we never asked them for it.”
“The producer went to the media for publicity,” he added.