NEW DELHI: On a day when the Bombay High Court asked the censor board to explain why it was insisting on the deletion of Punjab from Udta Punjab, the government hinted that radical changes in the certification process might be announced in the next few days. The changes could relate to recommendations of the Benegal committee which said films not be cut but given appropriate certificates.
The hint to this effect came from Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, who said the movie certification norms have to be liberal and “some very radical changes” will be announced over the next few days. His views assume significance in wake of film Udta Punjab as makers of the film and censor board chief Pahlaj Nahalini were involved in an unseemly public fight. Reacting to the controversy, Jaitley said, “I won’t say it’s overboard. I don’t know this case because I have not seen this film in question.”
Referring to the changes studied by the government, the minister added, “There is a well-documented report by Shyam Benegal, the first part which has come to me which is under consideration. Over the next few days we are going to announce some very radical changes in that.”
The Bombay High Court asked the censor board to explain why it was insisting on the deletion of Punjab in Udta Punjab even as the film body insisted that the 13 changes suggested by its Revising Committee were justified and proper. A bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari was hearing a petition filed by Phantom Films, producer of Udta Punjab, which is aggrieved by an order of the Revising Committee of the Board that suggested changes in the film before its release on June 17.
Justice Dharmadhikari compared drug-themed Udta Punjab with another film released earlier titled Go, Goa, Gone, saying that in that movie the state of Goa is shown as a place where people go to socialise in parties and also take banned drugs. “If Goa can be shown as a place of drug abuse in that film, what is wrong if Punjab is shown in Udta Punjab?” asked the judge. The board’s lawyer argued that the order of the Revising Committee suggesting 13 changes in the film was not arbitrary and the committee had applied its mind while making these suggestions.