Bombay High Court blasts CBFC for ‘censoring’ instead of ‘certifying’
Mumbai, June 10 : The Bombay High Court on Friday pulled up the censor board for insisting on “censoring” films instead of “certifying” them and asked why it was not banning “Udta Punjab” if the movie indeed glorified drugs.
A divison bench comprising Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi asked the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to leave it to viewers to decide whether the film was defaming a state as the modern audiences were a mature lot.
The judges noted that all this was giving unnecessary publicity to the film and said people must be allowed to see what they want on television or cinema as “everybody has a choice”. The CBFC must stick to certifying instead of censoring films, they said.
After completing the second day’s hearing on a plea filed by “Udta Punjab” co-producers challenging the cuts recommended by CBFC, the judges said they would pronounce their verdict on June 13.
Earlier, the CBFC told the court that some of the scenes recommended for deletion in the film were “very vulgar” and the lyrics used in the songs were “offensive”.
Citing examples, CBFC lawyer Advait Sethna said one dialogue, “zameen banjar toh aulad kanjar”, was abusive and the word “kanjar” was used in an objectionable manner.
To this, the court pointed out that films do not run on such content and there must be a storyline and the modern audiences were mature enough.
Sethna further argued that the word “kanjar” showed the state in a poor light as Punjab was a highly productive state. He added that a dog in the film was named ‘Jackie Chan’.
On Thursday, the court had noted that the film wants to save people from drugs and was not “made with a view to malign the state or its people”.
Co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, “Udta Punjab” stars Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh and is about the drug menace in Punjab.
Kashyap accused CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani of bullying and deliberately not certifying the film slated for release on June 17.
While the CBFC at one point demanded 89 cuts in the film, its Revising Committee brought down the number to 13.
Among the scenes the CBFC wants to be cut is one showing Shahid Kapoor urinating publicly during a song sequence. This the film makers don’t mind chopping.
The row over “Udta Punjab” took a new turn after Nihalani suggested that Kashyap may have taken money from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to produce the movie ahead of Punjab elections due next year.