Bombay HC upholds artistic freedom, clears Udta Punjab; snubs CBFC for acting like a 'grandmother'

As per the revised disclaimer, the makers of Udta Punjab will have to delete references to Pakistan.

Published: 14th June 2016 03:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th June 2016 03:17 AM   |  A+A-

Udta Punjab Shahid Kapoor Alia PTI

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt with Udta Punjab film actors Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt speaks at a press conference (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: With the Bombay High Court on Monday asking the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) not to act like a “grandmother” and to issue in 48 hours a fresh certificate with just one cut in place of the 89 it had demanded, Udta Punjab will finally see the light of the day on June 17.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said, “Barring the deletion of the urination scene as directed by the board and a modification of the disclaimer, the June 6 order passed by the CBFC’s revising committee directing for 13 changes in the movie is quashed and set aside.”

“Do not act like a grandmother. Change as per the times now....These days filmmakers are brutal, direct and straightforward. One need not treat them harshly just because of this,” the bench said.

As per the revised disclaimer, the makers will have to delete references to Pakistan and say the movie, its characters and filmmakers don’t promote the use of drugs and abusive language, and that the film is only attempting to depict the reality of drug abuse.

The court said it couldn’t find anything in the film’s script that showed Punjab in a bad light. “The film is meant for adult viewing. If a maker chooses this way of depicting the movie and a subject, then it is not for anybody to restrict it. Like the CBFC, even we would be happy if better words were coined and used by the filmmaker,” the judges said.

“It is undisputed that the CBFC possesses powers to call for cuts, changes, deletions in a movie while certifying it. These powers come into play if the film affects the sovereignty, integrity or security of India, foreign relations, public order, and or is likely to incite commission of an offence,” the bench observed.

On the board’s demand that words such as election, MP, MLA, Parliament, party worker and Punjab be deleted, the court said, “Udta Punjab is not made keeping in mind the upcoming elections in Punjab or with any political propaganda.”

The bench refused to stay its order on the CBFC plea to enable it to appeal the order, saying the filmmakers had already spent a lot o money on the movie. Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered a screening of the film to decide if it was appropriate for public exhibition.

Director Anurag Kashyap and Shahid Kapoor hailed the judgement via their Twitter accounts.


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