Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani said post Bombay high court’s order clearing Udta Punjab, “doors for films with obscene, vulgar content are open now”. On Monday, the Bombay HC had cleared the Shahid Kapoor-starrer with one cut and advised CBFC to “stop acting like a grandmother”.
CBFC had demanded 94 mammoth cuts based on 13 “suggestions”, which included demand that name of the state and its cities should be removed from the film. The row about Udta Punjab, based on Punjab’s drug problem, had quickly snowballed into a political controversy.
Nihalani, while claiming to be is “absolutely in-sync” with the HC decision, said CBFC has lost meaning after the verdict. He was speaking to Economic Times. “It is undoubtedly a good judgement for the producers. I have been a producer too, so I am glad everyone is relieved today. From now, producers will start approaching the court for every single cut suggested by the CBFC,” Pahlaj said while asserting he was not “angry or disappointed”.
The CBFC chief further told ET that the board was only “implementing the act framed for CBFC to function with full honesty”. He said: “But the CBFC has lost its meaning today. As the chairman of the CBFC, I have come to know that the board is not here to censor movies. I just want to point out that when the name of the board was changed from ‘censor’ to ‘certification’, the 1952 Cinematograph Act that it follows, and its rule book were not changed. We were just following those, and doing our job. I had put in place a proper system. We were doing what was expected of us — to ensure films are free of content that is unnecessarily abusive and defamatory. But from today, the producers are free to produce anything they want.”
Watch Shahid Kapoor in the title song of Udta Punjab
Pahlaj had earlier told Hindustan Times that the CBFC was “happy with whatever they’ve (HC) decided.”
He had also said that the board had been non-partisan in its decision. “If we had a problem with the drug problem in Punjab being shown on screen why would we clear the Punjabi film Dhee Punjab Dee which deals with the same issue? Its producer Baljeet Singh has gone on record to condemn the strong language in Udta Punjab. We at the CBFC are not against the film,” he had said.
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