Welcoming the verdict by the Bombay High Court to clear the controversial film Udta Punjab, veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal said the judgement was a very matured and intelligent one, adding that he hoped it brought a change in the attitude of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Speaking to ANI, Benegal said that the High Court through its verdict, brought to everybody to realise the true purpose of what the CBFC should be doing, which is to act as a certification body and not a censoring body.
“The most important thing very few people realise is that the people who applied for the censor certificate, which are the filmmakers themselves, had asked for an adult certificate anyway. They had not asked for a Universal certificate or a UA certificate,” he said.
“There was no reason for the CBFC to go through that exercise. Eventually the High Court took cognizance of the fact that this is an adult film, it deals with a very important problem and took the right judgement,” Benegal added.
Following the verdict, a visibly relieved Abhishek Chaubey, who is the director of this film, lauded the courage and hard work by the lawyers and producers and said that his team would now fight for the release on its scheduled date on June 17.
“Today I salute the courage of my producers and the hard work that my lawyers have made and this film has been passed. We will fight for its release on the 17th. I am terribly pleased with the verdict and I am relieved,” Chaubey told the media here.
The High Court earlier in the day cleared the release of ‘Udta Punjab’, whose makers were locked in a dispute with the CBFC.
A division bench of the High Court directed the CBFC to certify the film within 48 hours to enable the makers to release it on its schedule this Friday.
The High Court, however, directed the makers to delete one scene and to display a revised disclaimer. The bench refused to stay its order on a plea made by CBFC counsel to enable the board to appeal against it in the Supreme Court, saying the filmmakers have already spent a lot on the movie and its promotion and distribution.
Following are some other observations made by the High Court on ‘Udta Punjab’:
1. Filmmakers don’t support drugs.
2. Characters show facets of menace.
3. No reason to delete Punjab from sign board.
4. Drugs availability highlighted.
5. Downfall of a rockstar depicted.
6. Cops struggling with drug menace.
7. CBFC not empowered by law to censor films as the word censor is not included in the Cinematograph Act.