Udta Punjab censor row: Anurag Kashyap compares India with North Korea
Anurag Kashyap, producer of upcoming film Udta Punjab has finally lost his patience with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) which is demanding that all references to ‘Punjab’ must be removed from the film, apart from 89 other cuts.
Kashyap took to Twitter on Monday night to express his angst. He also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he wrote a series of tweets.
CBFC member Ashoke Pandit also questioned the board over the matter and wrote, “I question the intelligence of the committee which has given this judgement of removing the word ‘Punjab’ from #UdtaPunjab. #CBFC. Just wondering what were to happen if these films would release now : #MrIndia, #MumbaiMeriJaan, #DilliKaThug. #UdtaPunjab #CBFC. Going by Nihalani’s logic, issue based classics wud’ve nvr released: #SalamBombay (Prostitution),#Bombay (Riots),#NewDelhiTimes (Corruption).”
“If there are 89 cuts in #UdtaPunjab, then the film loses its impression, basic ethos. You cannot massacre the film by giving so many cuts and saying that you cannot use the name of a state. All limits crossed, people will laugh at us that you can’t even take the name of a place? Not a single board member who is based in Mumbai 100% will be involved in this mockery. Confident that this decision is taken by our chairman, we’ve been fighting against diktats of chairman. Decision of not allowing the word ‘Punjab’ condemnable, mockery of freedom of expression of a filmmaker,” Pandit told ANI on Monday.
Shahid Kapoor, who plays the lead role in Udta Punjab said, “Just because the title is Udta Punjab, everyone is thinking the problem is only in Punjab. First of all, Punjab is in India and any problem in Punjab is India’s problem. It (drug abuse) is not a problem for Punjab but the youth. Everyone associated with the film believes the issue genuinely concerns the youth and not just the Punjabis which is why it is a Hindi film and not Punjabi.”
“The future generation needs to be aware of the potential threat of substance abuse. Drug abuse is considered very cool these days. Earlier, people would ask those taking drugs at parties to to do it discretely but nowadays it is uncool if you are not doing it.This film is trying to spread awareness about an issue that is an issue for an entire generation. Please, I would request all of you not to limit it to Punjab,” he added.
As the developments pose a danger to the creative expressions of the industry, the film fraternity rallied behind Udta Punjab makers.
Even Karan Johar, a director-producer who rarely speaks on such issues, tweeted, “#UdtaPunjab speaks of the reality of our times....censoring reality amounts to delusion.....the fraternity has to stand by what’s right!!”
The move might benefit the Akali Dal though the party never officially sought a ban on the Udta Punjab. But SAD spokesman and state minister Daljit Singh Cheema told HT the movie was projecting Punjab in a bad light. “The movie is tarnishing the image of Punjab and its people by showing them as drug addicts,” Cheema said.
Watch Shahid Kapoor in a song from Udta Punjab
In 2009, Irrfan Khan and Shah Rukh Khan’s Billu was made to remove the word ‘barber’ from its title after the community protested against it. The 2016 sex-comedy, Kya Kool Hain Hum 3, had to undergo massive cuts to get an adult certificate. Salman Khan’s 2015 blockbuster, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, had to trim several sequences involving Pakistan.
Directed by Abhishek Choubey, Udta Punjab deals with the problem of drug addiction among Punjab’s youth. Kareena Kapoor plays a doctor in the film, and Alia Bhatt is a Bihari migrant who was a one-time hockey player forced to work in the fields after her father’s death in Punjab.
The movie is set to release on June 17.
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