The long battle between makers of Udta Punjab and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) may have culminated Monday, with High Court ruling that the film be cleared with just one cut, but when the makers received the certificate Wednesday evening, it was a rather unusual one.
The certificate, which bears the name of the presiding officers of the appellate committee members who watched the film, in this case has names of the two judges who ruled on the petition: S C Dharmadhikari and Dr Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi. Also, the certificate states: “Passed by Hon’ble High Court, Mumbai.”
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Mumbai Regional Officer Raju Vaidya, who has signed the certificate, said it was prepared as per norms. “This is the norm; the name of whoever has cleared the film is on the certificate,” he told The Indian Express.
However, a CBFC employee, who did not want to be named, said till date a film’s certificate has never had to bear the name of judicial officers. “It will carry names of the committee members present at the screening. And in this case, the judges anyway didn’t watch the film,” said the employee, adding that films such as Black Friday, Fire, or documentaries such as Pankaj Butalia’s Textures of Loss, did not have “Passed by Hon’ble High Court, Mumbai” inscribed on the CBFC certificate.
Confirming that such a certificate is unprecedented, documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan said, “More than once I have had to approach the court after CBFC refused certification to my films. But eventually, when they were cleared, they didn’t bear the judge’s names or this text.”
Albeit amused, the film’s director, Abhishek Chaubey, told The Indian Express it matters more that the film has been cleared and the certificate is in his hand. “I am relieved. I want the film to release on time now,” he said.