Bombay High Court clears Udta Punjab with one cut


Mumbai: Bombay High Court on Monday approved the release of Udta Punjab with one cut and asked the Central Board of Film Certification to stop acting like a grandmother. The ruling overturned a controversial suggestion by the censor board seeking 13 cuts to the movie which it had deemed offensive to people’s sensibilities and a threat to the country’s integrity.

Besides asking the producers to delete a scene which shows the lead character, a drug-addicted rock star played by Shahid Kapoor, urinating in public, the court also ordered modification of a disclaimer by deleting a reference to Pakistan.

A bench of SC Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said in its order “Do not act like a grandmother. Change as per the times now,” which was hailed by the film fraternity as a “landmark judgment”.

“The CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) cannot stop creative people abruptly as it may discourage them. This will kill creativity. These days’ filmmakers are brutal, direct and straightforward. One need not treat them harshly just because of this.”

Udta Punjab is scheduled to be released on June 17.

It over ruled the board’s demand that the words “election, MP, parliament, and party” should be cut and said a scene where a character injects himself with drugs could be shown.

The film’s co-producer Anurag Kashyap, at the centre of the fight against the censor board, hailed the verdict in a tweet. “Thank you to the honourable Judge, thank you all for the faith and support. Time to get back to work (sic).”

Shortly after the ruling, the Punjab and Haryana high court ordered a special screening of the film on Tuesday before a panel which will ascertain if it was fit for public. The panel will submit a report to the court on Thursday.

The CBFC last year blocked the release of a toned-down version of the erotic Hollywood film Fifty Shades of Grey and deemed two James Bond kissing scenes unsuitable for an Indian audience.