Udta Punjab vs Censor Board: Bombay High Court asks CBFC for reasons for cuts
MUMBAI,Charu Thakur:After Shyam Benegal gave a thumbs up to Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab, the makers of the film have another reason to rejoice as Bombay High Court has stood by creativity and asked CBFC to give reasons for suggesting 89 cuts.
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Justice SC Dharmadhikari was stunned about the entie hue and cry on the part of CBFC for calling the film anti-Punjab. He questioned the Censor Board, “Has drug menace never been portrayed on celluloid? Some may be crude, while some may be artistic. How does this signboard insult anyone?”
On Wednesday (June 8), producers of Udta Punjab moved the Bombay High Court against the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for advising 89 cuts and giving an A certificate to the film.
He further added, “There was a film on Moga (a district in Punjab) being a cancer town. It was not to degrade the town, but to talk about the seriousness of the issue.”
CBFC also demanded that the makers drop Punjab from the title of the film since it shows the state in poor light. To which Dharmadhikari replied, “Are you saying that Punjab is known only for drugs?”
It seems Abhishek’s film has got the right support for the right content. Even Shyam Benegal, who heads the Censor Board Revamp Panel, called Udta Punjab a well-made film.
In an interview to IANS, Benegal said, “It’s a well-made film. It brings to attention a very serious problem, that of drug use among young people, which can, if we are not careful, become a rampant problem. It’s a laudable effort.”
“But people are misreading the film. They are under the impression that it is anti-Punjab. I don’t think the film is anti-Punjab at all,” he added.
Benegal watched the Abhishek Chaubey directorial on Wednesday in Mumbai following a row between the makers and the Censor Board. Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani has denied suggestions he acted under political pressure.
Assembly elections are due in Punjab next year. The opposition has made the drug abuse in the state a major campaign issue, upsetting the ruling Akali Dal-BJP coalition.
Benegal said he was speaking as an individual filmmaker, not as head of the CBFC revamp committee. “If the question is of the use of dialect and language, there is a great deal of obscenity being used (in the film). But you see, there are certain sections of our population that use obscenity as punctuation in the language,” Benegal added.
Having said that, Benegal asserted that he would not recommend the film for a universal audience. “It cannot get a U certificate, and I am told the producers never asked for a universal certificate. They only asked for an ‘A’ certificate. So, in terms of age and maturity, the film is only meant essentially for adults and not people younger than properly grown adults,” said the 81-year-old.
Benegal said that in essence, Udta Punjab makes an important point. “Punjab is vulnerable. Unfortunately, it happens to be extremely vulnerable because it’s a border state and it’s a doorway to India. So, drugs that come in from outside, have to pass through Punjab.”
Udta Punjab is in the middle of a raging controversy thanks to its content. The film attempts to bring on screen the problem of drug abuse among the youth of Punjab. And this hasn’t gone down all too well with people in power.
The film is set to hit the screens on June 17.
Posted by ZI Mark
on June 9, 2016. Filed under Bollywood
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