Filmmakers Kabir Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Gauri Shinde and actress Kalki Koechlin have joined the growing number of Bollywood celebrities, who have slammed the censor board for demanding cuts in “Udta Punjab”.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has purportedly raised certain objections to the Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor starrer regarding references to the problem of substance abuse in Punjab, following which the movie may have to go through some changes.
The board has also demanded the removal of “Punjab” from the title of the Abhishek Chaubey-directed movie. Khan said changing the name of a film is not logical. Citing his own example, the director said censor board had asked him to make alterations in the title of “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and wanted him to retain either “Bajrangi” or “Bhaijaan”, which he felt was ridiculous.
“Now here, they seem to say by changing ‘Udta Punjab’ to ‘Udta Timbuktu’, the film is going to change. I don’t understand the logic behind this kind of decision. How is this depicting any community or state in the negative way,” Khan said.
“Are we saying the drug problem does not exist?... We all know till what extent the drug problem exists in Punjab. I was shooting last year in the border areas of Punjab for ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and everybody was talking about it. We saw people, families who were suffering from this problem and it is a film trying to highlight and focus on it. How is it going to negatively portray people?” he added.
Akhtar criticised officials of the censor board, writing, “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.”
“English Vinglish” helmer Shinde said, “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say. #UdtaPunjab.”
Kalki said in the case of “Udta Punjab”, censorship is trying to limit a very realistic point of view. “I don’t blame even the censor board. It’s an ancient system that hasn’t changed for very long time. These days there is internet people know everything. But censorship tries to limit people’s point of views and specially in this case, it is limiting a very realistic point of view,” Kalki told PTI.
Alia Bhatt, who also stars in the film, posted Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan Malala Yousufzai’s quote, which read, “We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”