Director Abhishek Choubey’s Udta Punjab has apparently run into trouble with the Central Board For Film Certification (CBFC). A member of the production house said that CBFC had not yet given a certificate to the movie and was demanding that most of the cuss words be edited out. The director, the producers at Phantom Films and Balaji Films, and CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani were unavailable for comment.
Interestingly, the makers of the film have asked for adult certification.
“The film is based on the drug problem in Punjab, the character played by Shahid Kapoor, that of a musician, is liberal with expletives. Cutting those out will take away from the narrative,” the production team member said.
CBFC’s sudden move has raised eyebrows as the film’s promo, which came out earlier this month, was released under adult certification without any cuts and beeps.
“It was surprising to everyone within the board that the promo didn’t have to face a serious snip and Nihalani, who has earned a reputation for his ‘sanskari’ stand, let it pass. But if that was cleared, why is there a problem with the film?” asked a CBFC member who did not wish to be named.
The latest controversy comes amid a demand by several filmmakers that the CBFC should not act like moral police. Recently, a committee headed by veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal was set up by the I&B Ministry to look into the matter and also to upgrade the outdated Cinematograph Act of 1952. Benegal and his team have already submitted their report, but the ministry is yet to review or act on it.
While various stakeholders in Udta Punjab remained unavailable for comment, sources said that the makers did not want to go to the tribunal yet and were trying to sort things out.