Joining the raging controversy over the recommended cuts in Udta Punjab by the censor board, officials of Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) in Kolkata Friday said they too “face problems” and accused the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of “going beyond its jurisdiction”.
“The board’s duty is to accept or reject a film. Why should they recommend changing the name of the film or make certain cuts? If a filmmaker makes a film on the Mumbai terror attack, will he name it after Kolkata? Should a film made on the 9/11 terror attacks in United States carry the name of some other country?” asked Krishna Narayan Daga, vice-president, EIMPA, while talking to The Indian Express.
Daga held Pahlaj Nihalani, the chairman of CBFC, directly responsible for the entire controversy involving Udta Punjab. “The chairman is not supposed to watch films. There is a committee for that. Has Nihalani forgotten his own films like Andaz and Haathkadi (which he was the producer of)? India is a democratic country and people should not be stopped from expressing themselves through this form of art (cinema),” Daga said while rejecting the idea that BJP was anyway involved in the matter.
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“The BJP is a national political party and it will not associate itself in this fashion. If it had to stop a film, there are enough workers in the party to start trouble after its first show and screening would automatically be suspended. Also, if the BJP was against it (Udta Punjab), why would Union minister Arun Jaitley speak for the filmmakers?” Daga said and added that even the court, which is hearing the case, has expressed its dissatisfaction over the censor board’s decision. “I think and I sincerely hope that the judgement would be in favour of the filmmakers,” he said.
Daga also said that it wasn’t just the Mumbai film industry which faces such issues. “We too are victims of the whimsical censor board here in Kolkata. They think they have some superpower. We don’t get certificates even a week after the committee has seen the film and when our officials go to collect the certificates, they are made to wait for several hours unnecessarily,” he alleged.
The makers of Udta Punjab, starring Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh, have moved court against the board’s stand to delete the name of Punjab from the film’s title while also recommending 94 cuts in the movie, including any reference to the state, and scenes showing consumption of narcotic substances among youths — the film’s central theme.
Hearing the case, the Bombay High Court Friday deferred the announcement of the verdict until June 13.