Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani says Udta Punjab director Anurag Kashyap’s charges are baseless. He said the film’s cuts have nothing to do with the polls in Punjab. “Only if one sees the film can one understand why the word Punjab was deleted,” he told NDTV. He also added that the Centre never interferes with the Censor Board. This is the Censor Board chief’s first reactions to the Udta Punjab controversy.
The makers of Bollywood film “Udta Punjab” are said to have been asked by the Revising Committee of the censor board to remove all references to Punjab a decision perhaps taken under pressure from the ruling dispensation in the state which is dealing with a festering problem of drugs.
“Udta Punjab”, a Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh starrer movie, delves into how the youth there have succumbed to drugs.
The release of the movie in a year when the state is less than nine months from assembly elections is likely to be seen as politically disastrous for the state’s ruling party, the Shrimoni Akali Dal which is a partner with the ruling-National Democratic Alliance at the centre.
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has said “Punjab” cannot be separated from his film “Udta Punjab,” singling out Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani for lacerating criticism over the cuts that the board has ordered in the film.
“It is absolutely not possible to cut references to Punjab,” Kashyap said asserting, “The film is not anti-Akali or anti-BJP, it is anti-drugs. A film about how youth are losing lives.”
After the Censor Board denied the film a certificate over “excessive swearing”, the makers went to the board’s revising committee, which has asked them to remove all references to Punjab, politics and elections. Including from the title.
Kashyap said that the film has left them in ‘limbo land’ because this has not been communicated to them in writing. “They haven’t given us a letter so we cannot go to the tribunal,” he said, “We have been left in a coma for the last five days and we are awaiting their letter.”