Death by 89 cuts: All you need to know about the CBFC-'Udta Punjab' row

It's no secret that the release of Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab is mired in political controversy.

FP Staff June 08, 2016 10:00:46 IST
Death by 89 cuts: All you need to know about the CBFC-'Udta Punjab' row

It's no secret that the release of Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab is mired in political controversy. Merely nine months away from the Assembly Elections, the release of the film may pose as an issue for the state’s ruling party, the Shrimoni Akali Dal as the film tackles the drug menace in the state.

The Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) has now held back the film's certification, demanding 89 cuts in total and removal of any references to the state of Punjab, politics or elections, in general.

Here are the demands made by the CBFC for Udta Punjab:

From 40 cuts to 89 cuts

Death by 89 cuts All you need to know about the CBFCUdta Punjab row

Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in 'Udta Punjab'. Image from Facebok.

The CBFC has initially cited 40 cuts in the film, owing to explicit language and drug consumption.

Following this, Phantom Films approached the tribunal with the hope that by giving an 'A' certificate to the film, the cuts won't be recommended.

However, according to this Quint report, the revising committee went one step further and asked for the use of 'Punjab' in the title to be removed, and recommended 89 cuts.

They also want the film to be set in a fictional land rather than a real state. Reportedly, Pahlaj Nihalani has a problem with the "portrayal of reality in the film."

Update: Shyam Benegal to watch the film

An exclusive screening of Abhishek Chaubey's controversy-ridden Udta Punjab has been organised on Wednesday for eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who heads the government-appointed censor board revamp committee.

The move comes in the wake of the movie's producer Anurag Kashyap slamming the board for its apparent issues with the film, which deals with problem of substance abuse in Punjab. National Award-winning director Benegal said once he watches the movie, he will be in a position to comment on the controversy surrounding it.

"I don't know the actual matter as I have not seen the film. I will see it tomorrow and then only I can say something. Before that, it is not fair on my part to comment or say anything on it (cuts and issues raised by censor board)," he told PTI.

Political connections

The Akali Dal is a member of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, and they are said to have a problem with how the film portrays Punjab.

In this Times of India report, a source from the CBFC has countered this claim, by saying "We have just held back the certification. The film producers have the option to move Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). It is only about certain expletives and nothing more."

Udta Punjab makers to sue CBFC

In order for the filmmakers to approach the next level of certification, which is Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), they will need a list of suggestions from the revising committee, which they have not received, reports Scroll.

It is now learnt that the producers are all set to move the Bombay High Court against CBFC's verdict on Udta Punjab. Phantom and Balaji Motion Pictures (co-producers on the film) have reportedly decided to fight for the release, even at the risk of it being postponed. There is a good chance Udta Punjab will not see its initial release of 17 June.

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