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Filmmakers look to cash in on 'Udta Punjab' vs CBFC row

With Udta Punjab’s release date still under speculation due to court proceedings, other filmmakers are cashing in on the situation. 'Junooniyat' and 'Shorgul', which were slated to release on June 24, will now reach theatres on June 17

Even as the stalemate between the Censor Board and makers of Udta Punjab drags on with the Bombay High Court adjourning the hearing on the case till Monday, there is strong buzz in industry circles that the film’s June 17 release will be pushed back by a week. In anticipation of this open window and to avoid a clash with Udta Punjab on June 24, at least two films will hit the theatres one Friday earlier.

Alia Bhatt
Alia Bhatt in Udta Punjab 

We hear Vivek Agnihotri’s Junooniyat and political drama Shorgul, which were slated to hit the marquee on June 24, will now reach theatres on June 17. Udta Punjab makers are, however, resolute about not changing their initial release date.

Jimmy Sheirgill in Shorgul
Jimmy Sheirgill in Shorgul

Yesterday morning, arguments related to the film continued in court where the lawyer representing Censor Board explained the need to effect the suggested cuts which include references to Punjab, expletives and drug scenes. The board apparently also wanted ‘Punjab’ to be removed from the title. While reserving its judgment until Monday, the court observed, “Whether it is TV or cinema, let people see it as everybody has a choice to watch what they want. The multiplex audience is mature enough to understand what it wants to see.”

Pulkit Samrat  and Yami Gautam in Junooniyat
Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam in 'Junooniyat'

So, with the verdict being deferred, will 'Udta Punjab' make it to theatres on June 17? The makers remained unavailable for comment while a source close to the project says, “That call will be taken on Monday after the court’s decision is out. We are on the right track and don’t want to let go of the June 17 date. We are doing whatever we can to get the film released as per schedule. We are not aware of others advancing their films’ dates.”

The spokesperson of T-Series, which is producing Junooniyat, confirms that the film will arrive in theatres on June 17, instead of June 24, adding: “Given that our film was ready for release, our distributors Puja Films felt that we should advance our release to June 17 since there is a strong English film (The Independence Day – Resurgence) and a strong Punjabi film (The Return Of Sardaarji) coming on June 24.”

Shorgul producer Swatantra Vijay Singh says, “In light of the recent controversies, we would not like to jeopardise the film’s fate and have decided to bring forward our release date to June 17. We don’t want a clash with Udta Punjab since both films have a rock solid message to give out and releasing the films on the same day will dilute the bigger picture of hammering a message on a consistent level.”

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