The makers of “Udta Punjab”, who had moved the Bombay High Court against CBFC’s demands for multiple cuts, today hailed the verdict, calling it a “landmark judgement” and victory for the entire film industry.
“The hard work of the lawyers has paid. I am terribly pleased with the verdict. I hope films will be viewed in context and there won’t be a blanket on cinema,” Abhishek Chaubey told reporters here, outside the high court.
“Today I salute the courage of my producer and the hard work that my lawyers have put. Now, the film has been passed and we’re going to fight for the release on June 17. I am terribly pleased with the verdict and relieved,” he said.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had earlier sought 89 cuts in Shahid Kapoor-starrer “Udta Punjab”.
Subsequently, Anurag Kashyap, who is one of the producers of the film, had moved the high court against CBFC’s decision.
The HC today cleared the release of “Udta Punjab”, but directed the filmmaker to delete a urination scene from the movie, and also asked for a revised disclaimer.
The HC said it did not find anything in the film’s script that shows the state in bad light or affects the sovereignty or integrity of India as it was claimed by CBFC.
The court also said that CBFC is not empowered by law to censor films, as the word censor is not included in the Cinematograph Act.
Co-producer Anurag Kashyap, who was at the forefront of the fight, simply tweeted, “I believe” after the verdict came out.
“A judgement for the whole film industry not just us, its awesome,” said co-producer Madhu Mantena Verma.
Actor Shahid Kapoor, who plays a drug-addict rapper in the film, called it a “landmark judgement”.
Meanwhile, CBFC’s CEO Anurag Shrivastav told PTI, “We acknowledge the verdict of the Bombay High Court. We work as per the guidelines. We work in difficult conditions and try to be honest with a film.”
The film, based on the drug problem in Punjab, has been in news since an examining committee, headed by CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani, asked the makers to edit close to 30 minutes of the movie citing the use of cuss words.
The makers decided to challenge the examining committee’s decision and approached the revising committee. The revising committee then asked the filmmakers to effect 89 cuts, including the removal of word “Punjab” from the film.
The NDA-ruled Punjab, incidentally, goes to polls next year.