Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor and producer Anurag Kashyap today appealed the fans to watch "Udta Punjab" in theatres rather than downloading the leaked copy that is circulating online.
The controversy-laden film, which got a clearance for release from the Bombay High Court after a bitter battle with the censor board, has now leaked online.
The film has been leaked on various torrent websites with 'for censor' written in the top left corner of the print, sparking speculation about censor board's alleged role.
"I am not sure whether it was a CBFC copy. But if it is a censor copy then it's a shame for CBFC and reflects badly on them. Piracy is an issue, which we all have been fighting for a very long time," Aamir said. Co-producer Anurag Kashyap asked fans to wait till Saturday before downloading the pirated copy.
"Piracy happens because of lack of access and in a world of free internet, I do not have a problem with it. My problem is that this time it's a case of vested interests trying to demoralise people from fighting for their rights," Anurag wrote on Facebook.
"So, all downloaders of 'Udta Punjab', I urge, wait till Saturday till you decide to not pay for the film, don't download and share, curb the curiosity for two more days."
Asked whether he suspected a board member's role in the leak, Kashyap said," We have registered an FIR with Cyber Cell and they will investigate. Nothing can be said without the investigation. There is no point jumping to conclusion before that."
Actress Alia Bhatt, who plays the role of an aspiring hockey player in the movie, said, "Guys please please do not waste 2 years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears... Please watch #UdtaPunjab in only in theatres." Film's lead actor Shahid Kapoor also requested fans to watch the movie in theatres.
"Blood and sweat of many in this film. It's been your battle as much as ours. Now is the time you can show it. Watch UdtaPunjab in theatres," he wrote on Twitter.
"A big #dishoom to the Pirates. Go watch #UdtaPunjab only in the theatre," tweeted Varun Dhawan.
Karan Johar said, "Please watch Udta Punjab in the cinema this weekend! Don't succumb to online leaks!! An honest film needs an honest audience."
The censor board, however, has rubbished claims that it had any role in the movie's piracy.
When contacted, Anurag Srivastav, the CEO of Central Board of Film Certification, told PTI, "It is not possible at all.
Usually, when filmmakers come to us they get the DVD or hard disk to show the film before the committee and take it back. So we don't have the copy till we issue the certificate."
CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nahalani, on his part, said, "Please understand the procedure rather than believing in rumours."