NEW DELHI: The Bombay High Court asked some tough questions to the Censor Board for suggesting chopping of controversial words and scenes in the movie UdtaPunjab, saying people should be given a choice of what they want to view or not, so censor board should stick to certifications and not the cuts. The court also asked film makers to tone down certain abuses in the film.
Under attack, censor board chief Pahlaj Nahalini said he stuck to rules, and did not work under pressure. I am a liberal... will wait for the court judgment,” Nahalini said.
All eyes will be on the division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi who said they will will pass orders in the case on June 13 after listening to both the sides.
During the arguments, the court observed, "The censor board need not be so critical also as we want creative people to survive and grow in the film industry."
"Most movies are failing in the multiplexes because the audience is bored with this over-dose. The content of the movie matters. A creative mind will know the folly of including so much cuss words in the movie. Let them (filmmakers) learn from their mistakes," Justice Dharmadhikari said.
"You (CBFC) have to give people the choice to view what they want. In the house, a person uses the remote to switch on or off the television. Similarly let the public decide whether they want to see the movie or not. Use of expletives will not take the movie anywhere. Today's generation is not going to be impressed with all this. The content needs to be strong," the court said.
"In this age only those movies having a strong content and script line do well and just using expletives will not work for the movie, and hence the CBFC need not be overly critical."
The Court also had a suggestion for the film makers. "The scene where a character is shown scratching a body part in a graphic manner can be deleted entirely. This need not be shown in any form. Similarly, for all the cuss words used, a disclaimer can be displayed. Is it really necessary for a creative person to rely on expletives. You have to tone it down a bit," Justice Dharmadhikari said.
The Court added that use of expletives and cuss words does
not decide the success of the movie. "Today's generation is very direct open and more mature. No film runs because of the use of cuss words."
The court has been critical of Censor Board for suggesting many cuts including in the name of the film. "If the movie (Udta Punjab) is glorifying use of drugs then ban the entire movie," Court said in a stinging observations against the Board.
If Punjab was to be removed "from every dialogue and scene of the film then the crux of the film will be lost.If the idea of the maker is to be critical of a place or person then that place or person will have to be shown," the bench said.
The court also added that the censor board by passing such an order against the movie was giving it unnecessary
weightage and publicity.
The CBFC counsel Advait Sethna, while justifying the decision of the board's revising committee asking the makers to cut and delete certain scenes of the movie, remove all expletives and cuss words, reference to the state Punjab and the protagonist urinating and scratching his crotch scene, argued that such scenes are vulgar and extremely deplorable.
The petitioner's counsel Ravi Kadam said they were willing to delete that particular scene from the movie. "We are also ready to display a disclaimer saying neither the movie nor any characters in it nor the makers of the movie support or encourage use of cuss words or expletives and that we are only trying to depict reality," Kadam said.
Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who heads the government-appointed panel to revamp CBFC has suggested a new category - 'Adult with Caution' or 'A/C for films with excessive adult content in his recommendations.
"We have submitted an interim report to the government, the details of which cannot be revealed. Yes, we have mooted a
new category 'Adult with Caution' or 'A/C' for certification
of films with excessive adult content," Benegal said.
"We have suggested two other categories: Under U/A — U/A 12+ and U/A 15+. I can't reveal too much. There is another report that we will submit in three-four days. The government will take the final call. It is not fair to say anything on the suggestions as it is premature," he said.