In the wake of controversy over Udta Punjab, Bollywood stars have lent their support to the film and made a strong pitch for freedom of speech. After a host of actors and filmmakers, including Amitabh Bachchan, spoke in support of the film, Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut and Akshay Kumar also shared their thoughts on Thursday.
According to the film’s co-producer Anurag Kashyap, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has demanded a mammoth 94 cuts in the Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt-starrer. The Abhishek Chaubey-directed film is based on drug problem prevalent in Punjab.
Don’t have parental attitude towards audience: Kangana
“We all have been very concerned with the way things are going. I am not a director and I have not been through that process,” Kangana said at an event on Thursday. “But people whom I closely work with seem extremely disturbed with the way things are and to an extend they feel bullied. They know there is a process of certification. We do not ought to have that sort of parental attitude towards audiences that we need to protect them.”
Kangana, who has won three National Awards for her roles in Fashion, Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns, shared her personal experience when during the release of Queen, its director Vikas Bahl was asked to blur a scene as the censor board thought it was “vulgar”.
Kangana said: “In Queen, there was a little funny moment where a boy spots a bra on my bed. So the director called me and said the censor is blurring the bra as they think it is vulgar. My director was furious. As artistes we don’t see it as a danger to society. There is nothing vulgar about a woman’s bra...”
Bahl is one of the three people who head Phantom Films, which has co-produced Udta Punjab.
Further shedding light on censorship in India, Kangana said: “Cinema is all about detailing. We need our own creative freedom and we are definitely sort of pressed against the wall and their is so much outrage. I hope it will be addressed and hope there won’t be such incidents in future.”
Can’t dictate what to eat, watch: Priyanka
Priyanka Chopra, whose Jai Gangaajal also had a run-in with censor board, said, “Our forefathers achieved freedom of speech and expression for us after a long struggle... Creativity should not be stopped in democracy,” Chopra told reporters here.
The actor, who is at present in India after wrapping the shooting for her Hollywood debut Baywatch, said CBFC is a “certification body and not censor”.
Talking to media in Patna where she is promoting her maiden Bhojpuri venture as a producer, Priyanka said, “In democracy you cannot dictate what one should eat or watch a movie on a social issue.”
She also spoke against censor board’s demand of dropping Punjab from the film’s title, “Title is the creativity of every producer and director. So, how can it be changed?”
If it gets stuck, it gets stuck: Akshay
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar cited the example of his film Desi Boyz when asked about censorship in India.
When asked if commercial movies are easily cleared by CBFC, Akshay told reporters, “Nothing like that. I made a film which was very entertaining, Desi Boyz, it got an adult certificate. Eros International (producer) knows about it. So there’s nothing like that. If it gets stuck, it gets stuck.”