Amid the controversy over drug-themed Bollywood film “Udta Punjab”, its producers moved the Bombay High Court today seeking a copy of the order passed by Censor Board’s Review Committee purportedly suggesting cuts in the movie and removal of reference to Punjab in it.
The petition said that producers have not yet been given a copy of the order by the government or the Censor Board and that unless they had a copy of the order in hand, how could they proceed in the matter to undertake the amendments purportedly suggested by the Committee on May 3.
The movie is slated for release on June 17.
The petition, filed by Phantom Films, a production and distribution company established by Anurag Kashyap, sought a direction from the high court to the government and the Censor Board to hand over a copy of the review committee’s decision on the “objectionable” scenes and dialogues in the film.
The petition, filed through law solicitor film Naik Naik and Co, is slated to come up for hearing before a bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari this afternoon.
The makers of the film are said to have been asked by the Review Committee of Censor Board to remove all references to Punjab and make 89 cuts. Kashyap, however, said they are waiting for an “official letter” from the Board on the issue.
The Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh starrer movie that delves into how the youth in Punjab have succumbed to drugs has also unleashed political sparring prompting Kashyap to ask parties to stay away from the censorship row.
Punjab goes to polls next year.
Kashyap had yesterday hit out at Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, calling him “oligarch” and “dictator” and that it was like living in North Korea.
He got the support of several filmmakers, including Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt, Ram Gopal Varma and Mukesh Bhatt.
“It is a dark day for freedom of expression and creativity in the country,” Mukesh Bhatt said, calling Nihalani a “stooge” of the government.
The “Bombay Velvet” director took to Twitter to vent his ire at Censor Board and said there is no sense of freedom.
“I always wondered what it felt like to live in North Korea… Ab to plane pakadney ki bhi zaroorat nahin…,” Kashyap posted on Twitter.
“I request Congress, AAP and other political parties to stay out of my battle. It’s my Rights vs the Censorship. I speak only on my behalf,” he said.
The AAP and Congress had earlier accused Punjab’s ruling SAD-BJP alliance of exercising its influence to “censor” the movie, a charge denied by the state government.