Welcoming the Bombay high court’s verdict in favour of their film, “Udta Punjab” co-producer Anurag Kashyap sought censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s removal and overhaul in CBFC.
“We have a humongous problem with Mr Nihalani but if he goes who will come in? What’s the guarantee that if someone comes in, he will not interpret the Cinematograph Act and the law the same way, or may be worse or better. The system needs overhaul. It is not just Nihalani, who needs to be replaced, which we want,” he told reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Kashyap was at the forefront of the fight against the board, which had asked for multiple cuts in the drug-themed drama, directed by Abhishek Chaubey.
The producers had moved the Bombay high court against the the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) decision. The court cleared the film for release with just one cut.
Kashyap said they were careful in not letting the film get dragged into politics while they were fighting the censorship.
“Something that we have consistently seen that in such cases, the issue always gets lost, gets too political and people get too defensive. It kind of loses scope. This fight was about the film, about what we believed in. I think it stayed singular and the industry joined in,” Kashyap said.
The filmmaker said he has realised that they can win such fights if the industry comes together.
“I have never seen so many people come together. Seeing that response somewhere, they have also realised that industry always needed to come together. It became one this time. That has put pressure on them.”
Kashyap said people get offended easily nowadays and the industry becomes a soft target.
“We are soft target and we should stand against this and say ‘Stop making us a soft target’.”
When asked why they were not as vocal as Kashyap on the issue, film’s lead star Shahid Kapoor said they were relatively new to the problem and wanted a more experienced voice to defend the film.
“I think me and Alia are still new to the censorship issue... So we chose to do it in a way that was as balanced as possible. I think the representation was not from the point of view of what will get more headlines but who will speak better and represent the film better. I have to thank Anurag for doing that,” said Shahid.
He praised Kashyap for fighting for the movie at a time when he was busy on his own directorial venture’s release.
“It is a very busy time for a filmmaker. It is very selfless on his (Kashyap’s) part,” he said.