Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap Wednesday dragged the censor board to the Bombay high court over the controversy surrounding his film Udta Punjab, a film on the drug menace the border state is battling.
The producers have asked for a copy of the order passed by the censor board’s review committee on May 3, purportedly suggesting cuts in the Shahid Kapoor-starrer and removal of all references to Punjab.
The petition, which will be taken up on Thursday, said the government and the censor board should share the committee’s decision on the “objectionable” scenes and dialogues in the film that is slated for release on June 17.
The petition, filed by Phantom Films, a production and distribution company established by Kashyap, has also sought an A certificate for the movie that will allow for adult viewing only but will let the film keep its title.
The 43-year-old filmmaker Tuesday took on central board of film certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani, accusing him of operating like an oligarch for ordering the cuts. Kashyap, however, said they were waiting for an “official letter” from the board.
The censor chief, in an exclusive interview to HT, hit back at Kashyap, saying the film was littered with expletives and vilified Punjab. “Mr Kashyap is like a child being denied a toy. He loves to make a noise every time a film directed or produced by him is released. And since he makes a lot of movies, he also makes a lot of noise,” Nihalani said.
With Punjab due for state elections, the controversy has assumed political overtones. The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, which fancies its chances in the northern state, criticised the board. The two parties also accused Punjab’s ruling SAD-BJP alliance of exercising influence to “censor” the movie.
The Shiromani Akali Dal, an NDA partner in power in Punjab for nine years, says the film tarnishes the image of the state and its people.
Nihalani denied he was under pressure from the Centre to censor the film. The board was being allowed to do its job, he said.
.(With PTI inputs)