Bombay High Court defends ‘Udta Punjab’, slams CBFC for giving unnecessary publicity

| Friday, June 10, 2016 - 15:31
First Published |
Udta Punjab, CBFC, Bombay High Court, Anurag Kashyap, Pahlaj Nihalani, censor board India,

New Delhi: The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was lambasted by the Bombay High Court on Friday for inequitable censorship of the Anurag Kashyap movie 'Udta Punjab'.

DN Mishra was the lawyer representing the censor board's side. The CBFC lawyer who argued in defense of the cuts recommended in the film said that there were explicit and offensive languages used in the film. Citing that some of the words were very vulgar, the CBFC lawyer raised objection over the word "Kanjar" which was used in the sentence "zameen banjar to aulaad kanjar".

Adding to the 'abusive' connotation of the word "Kanjar", the CBFC lawyer stated that the word shows Punjab in a negative light whereas in actuality, Punjab was an "upjau" state. The CBFC suggested that the "Kanjar" word be changed with an alternative.

"There is also a dog which has been named as Jackie Chan, that is also objectionable," said the lawyer.

However, subtly suggesting that an inequitable censorship was being practiced by the CBFC, the Bombay High Court directly censured the CBFC and said that all the attention was giving unnecessary publicity to the film.

The High Court raised questions about how if Goa could be shown as a place where drug abuse was rampant, why not Punjab. It also said that removing words such as election, MP, MLA did not make any sense. 

On the recommendation that the Punjab word be removed from the title of the film, the court enquired about the logic behind deleting the word. 

"Whether it is TV or cinema, let the people see it," the court said, directly condemning the censor board. "Everybody has a choice."

Ravi Kadam, the lawyer representing the filmmakers side also defended 'Udta Punjab' and said that a trailer had been passed successfully with the same word 'Chita Ve'. They also gave examples of movies like Delhi Belly, Bandit Queen and Gangs of Wasseypur which had been passed by the censor board.

It was also argued that since people who abused drugs used a certain different jargons, it was imperative and indispensable to include these in the film. 

The verdict on the 'Udta Punjab' controversy will be announced by the HC on Monday. 

The ‘Udta Punjab’ controversy came to light when director Anurag Kashyap publicly denounced the CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani and said that the latter’s behavior was ‘dictatorial’. ‘Udta Punjab’ is a movie centered round the theme of drug menace in the state of Punjab.  

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