Director Abhishek Chaubey says there is an immense sense of relief to see his film “Udta Punjab” in theatres on time and intact, something which looked impossible while they were at loggerheads with the censor board.
Chaubey, who wanted to make an anti-drug movie, said the CBFC’s version of his film was so different that he even thought of removing his name from the credits.
“I am just happy and relieved that we could relese the film on June 17 considering all that happened. The version that was cut was so different that I thought if this is the film that is going to come out then should I even give my name to it?” Chaubey told PTI in an interview.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had demanded 89 cuts from the drug drama that is set in Pujab. The producers had to finally move the Bombay High Court where it was cleared with just one cut and a revised disclaimer.
“Despite the court’s verdict, we were not sure till the afternoon of June 15 whether our film was going to release on time or not. Things were being thrown at us and we were just responding to it. We went through lots of ups and downs. I really want to leave that behind me and I hope that it never happens to any of my films or anyone’s film.”
The censor battle is not the only worry that Chaubey had to deal with. The movie leaked online just a day before its release.
“It was really disheartening because it was not the final film. It needs to be experienced with the final sound and everything. We worked so hard on the film and some people will not even see the real film. It has also affected our numbers. It is very heartbreaking. I hope the person responsible for it is brought to book.”
Such was the uncertainty around the release of the film that Chaubey did not even think about the post-release reaction of the audience that normally leaves filmmakers sleepless.
“I was not thinking about how the audience is going to react to the film. It just did not occur to me. From what I hear, people have really liked the film and have responded to it and that’s very satisfying. I worked on the movie for three year. I just want to go on a holiday now.”