The makers of “Udta Punjab” and Bollywood celebrities today hailed the Bombay High Court’s verdict setting aside the cuts suggested by CBFC, calling the judgement a victory for the entire film industry.
Anurag Kashyap, one of the co-producers of “Udta Punjab,” has thanked the High Court for giving its verdict in the favour of the movie.
The 43-year-old “Bombay Velvet” helmer, who was vocal in his criticism against censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, also thanked his fans for supporting the team.
“Thank you To the honourable Judge, thank you all for the faith and support.. Time to get back to work.. Two back to back releases,” Kashyap tweeted.
Film’s director Abhishek Chaubey said, “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.”
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who is heading a committee for revamp of the censor board, welcomed the ruling.
“I think this is a very mature verdict. It’s a good verdict. It shows that the court has taken note of the seriousness of the subject as well as the ability of the film to address the subject. Running a disclaimer and cutting out a scene are not a problem for the makers,” Benegal said.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had earlier sought 89 cuts in Shahid Kapoor-starrer “Udta Punjab”.
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 court 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.
It also said that CBFC is not empowered by law to censor films, as the word censor is not included in the Cinematograph Act.
"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 said, “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.