Clear Udta Punjab with 1 cut: HC to censor board

Clear Udta Punjab with 1 cut: HC to censor board

Clear Udta Punjab with 1 cut: HC to censor board
In a major jolt to the censor board, the Bombay High Court on Monday cleared Udta Punjab with just one cut instead of the 13 demanded by the board.

The court also said the movie, slated for release on Friday, should be given an ‘A’ certificate within 48 hours.

The court came down heavily on the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), led by Pahlaj Nihalani, asking it not to act like a "grandmother". “Do not act like a grandmother. Change as per the times now. The CBFC need not be over-sensitive in the matter of art," a division bench comprising Justices C S Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said.

As far as expletives, cuss words and abuses are concerned, there would be disclaimers. The scene in which the main character Tommy Singh, played by Shahid Kapoor, is seen urinating in public has been deleted.

Delivering the verdict, the bench said they did not find anything in the script that would affect the sovereignty of the nation. Directed by Abhishek Choubey, the drug-themed film also stars Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, founder of Phantom Films which co-produced the film with Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Motion Pictures, had challenged the cuts demanded by the CBFC.

"The CBFC is not empowered by law to censor films as the word ‘censor’ is not included in the Cinematograph Act. Creative freedom should not be unnecessarily curbed, nobody can dictate to a filmmaker about the content of his film," the bench said. "If changes have to be suggested, then that power must be exercised consistently and in line with the Constitution and Supreme Court directives," the bench ruled.

 “Adults won’t be tempted to use cuss words simply because they heard it in the movie. Udta Punjab is a work of fiction, it is made for a mature, adult audience. Nowhere does it glorify the use of drugs or refer to the upcoming Punjab elections," Justice Dharmadhikari said.

"Easy availability and accessibility of drugs has taken a toll, particularly on the youth of Punjab, and authorities are struggling to control the menace. The filmmakers chose to highlight this problem through the character of Tommy Singh, who causes his own downfall because of the drug abuse," the court order read.

Advocate Amit Naik, appearing for the film producers, said, "The court has set aside the 13 cuts demanded by the Revising Committee (of CBFC) and cleared the film for release with one cut in which a character is shown urinating in public. The producers had already agreed to cut that scene," said.

The three disclaimers that will appear in the movie are ‘We do not promote the use of drugs’, ‘We do not promote the use of cuss words’ and ‘We are not attacking any particular state’, and a reference to Pakistan.
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