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'Udta Punjab' makers refuse to buckle under Censor Board diktats

So what if the Censor Board is hell bent on going ban-ban, cut-cut on many a Bollywood and Hollywood film? Filmmakers, slowly but surely, seem to be learning how to defy sanskaari rules of the certification body.

Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab
Shahid Kapoor in 'Udta Punjab'

Earlier this week, Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt-starrer 'Udta Punjab' failed to get the Board's nod over the blatant use of cuss words and scenes showing substance abuse. After trying in vain to convince the examining committee (EC) about the importance of the dialogues as well as the scenes, the makers have directly approached the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) instead of resorting to the next logical step — knocking on the doors of the Board's revising committee.

Also read: Vikas Bahl seeks 'A' certificate for 'Udta Punjab'

Last month, Ekta Kapoor had got 'Great Grand Masti', the third instalment of sex comedy 'Masti', cleared by FCAT after the EC had rejected it for public viewing. Apparently, she had sanitised the upcoming film at her level and then approached the tribunal, which passed it saying it was a lot less vulgar than 'Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3' and 'Mastizaade', both of which released in January.

Among similar instances of a filmmaker placing his/ her film before the tribunal and getting it greenlighted include 'Jannat 2' (2012) and recent releases, 'Jai Gangaajal', 'Mastizaade' and 'Love Games'. A well-placed source says, "The Board members had been divided over the number of cuts that should be effected in Udta Punjab, which deals with rampant drug use among youth in Punjab, although they had unanimously agreed to granting it an 'A' certificate. Since the meeting proved to be inconclusive, the film was to be sent to the RC. However, the makers have decided to appeal to the tribunal directly."

Kareena Kapoor Khan and Alia Bhatt
Kareena Kapoor Khan and Alia Bhatt

Earlier, the trailer, which had expletives mouthed by Shahid and Alia, had also been 'toned down'. When it came to certifying the film, reports claimed three members of the EC had suggested only a few cuts, but the fourth member dug in his heels, demanding a much higher number of cuts. Despite efforts of the regional officer to reach a solution, the four stuck to their stand. "The makers have no problem with the adult certification, but they want to get an all-clear with minimum cuts or else the film will be reduced to a mere 20 to 25-minute product. So, they have decided to move the tribunal and wait for their suggestions," a source close to the project says.

Despite repeated attempts, the film's publicist, director Abhishek Chaubey, producers Vikas Bahl of Phantom Films and Aman Gill of Balaji Motion Pictures remained unavailable for comment. However, Anurag Shrivastav, CEO of the Censor Board, confirms the development saying, "It's a normal process and I don't understand why this ruckus is being created. There were some differences among members of the EC, so we had referred the film to the RC. But the makers have directly gone to FCAT which will now take a decision."

The film, which also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan and Punjabi superstar Diljit Dosanjh, is slated to release next month.

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