A delay of five more minutes in awarding certification and Udta Punjab makers would have dragged Censor Board chief to court again!
After two days of celebrations over Bombay High Court's judgment in their favour, 'Udta Punjab' makers went through a harrowing time yesterday. First, they woke up to the news that the film's uncensored copy had been leaked online (Read more) and that a Punjab-based NGO has moved the Supreme Court, seeking to stop its release. Then, they had to spend anxious moments waiting for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to grant them certification in time.
"As directed by the High Court, the CBFC was supposed to award us the certification by 6 pm, but they made us wait till the last second. Without the censor certificate, we couldn't have submitted the film on time for the show timings to be worked out. Had it been delayed by five more minutes, we would have dragged CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani to court again. It has been a long, tiring day," a source involved with the project says.
Diljit Dosanjh in scenes from the uncensored version of the film that was leaked yesterday
Adding to the makers' woes, the uncensored copy of 'Udta Punjab' found its way online and they have registered an FIR with the cyber crime cell, confirmed a senior Mumbai crime officer. Police sources said the complainant has given three Internet links, including one of a torrent site from where several netizens downloaded the uncut version of the film. Police have registered a case under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and Copyright Act.
Says a source, "Two versions of the film — an uncensored, 2.20-hour copy, which includes a urination scene that the court asked to be removed, as well as one with all cuts suggested by the CBFC — were available for download online. It is a setback for the makers, who successfully fought against censorship and secured timely release for their film."
The makers remained unavailable for comment. A source close to the project says, "Some elements are hell bent on killing the film. We are in touch with the cyber crime cops to get to the root of this sabotage. We have asked them to help us pull down the leaked copy. However, we do believe that it is not the handiwork of a CBFC official since we submitted the DVD to them only today." Over the last few weeks, the team of 'Udta Punjab' had been at loggerheads with the Censor Board, which had suggested at least 13 cuts to award certification. They later approached the High Court which shot down the Board's suggestions and asked the makers to remove one scene and put up a revised disclaimer.
Now, a Punjab-based NGO named Human Rights Awareness Association has submitted a petition before the apex court, challenging the decision to clear the film. According to sources, the NGO has said that the High Court should not have interfered with the CBFC's suggestions.
Inputs from Vijay Kumar Yadav