Leading figures in the film industry have thrown their weight behind the makers of Udta Punjab in their standoff with CBFC.
Karan Johar tweeted,
#UdtaPunjab speaks of the reality of our times….censoring reality amounts to delusion…..the fraternity has to stand by what’s right!!
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) June 6, 2016
“This is not a case-specific issue. It has been happening for a very long time,” filmmaker Onir, who has had his own battles with the censor board for his I Am and Chauranga, told The Indian Express. “There was also a lot of anger earlier this year when Aligarh’s trailer got ‘Adult’ certification… Why is the film industry, which is the biggest taxpayer in the country, always penalised in this way?”
Filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted: “Power is the most dangerous addiction of all & someone in the CBFC seems to be tripping hard on Lassi in the Sky with Diamonds.” And Aligarh-director Hansal Mehta tweeted: “What is this I’m hearing about #UdtaPunjab? Makes me very, very angry.”
Power is the most dangerous addiction of all & someone in the CBFC seems to be tripping hard on Lassi in the Sky with Diamonds. #UdtaPunjab
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) June 7, 2016
The censor board’s alleged demands regarding Udta Punjab are politically motivated, said documentary filmmaker Rakesh Sharma. “This is being done keeping in mind the upcoming Punjab elections. It is very clear to some of us that the cuts have been ordered on the diktats of the Akali Dal, which is allied with the BJP. The movie discusses an issue that is very real in Punjab and the demand that the filmmakers not use the name of the state is atrocious and sets a bad precedent. Tomorrow, if I want to make a movie about the farmer suicides in Maharashtra and I’m told I can’t use the names ‘Vidarbha’, or ‘Marathwada’ or ‘Maharashtra’, what sense does it make?”
In April this year, a committee chaired by filmmaker Shyam Benegal submitted a report on the Cinematograph Act to the government with recommendations for changes. When contacted, Benegal said he has asked the filmmakers for a private viewing of the film on Thursday. “It’s nothing official. I asked to see the film, because I want to understand what is happening. Once I have watched it, I will be able to comment on the issue,” he said.