'Udta Punjab' set to release on Friday

After days of uncertainty, Bollywood movie "Udta Punjab" will finally hit the screens on Friday, with producers getting the censor certificate on Wednesday evening.

Shahid Kapoor

A post on the Twitter handle of Balaji Motion pictures, one of the co-producers of Abhishek Chaubey's film, read: "And Udta Punjab finally gets the Udta Certificate!! Let's fly high in 2 days!"

Manoj Desai, Executive Director of Gaiety Galaxy and Maratha Mandir Cinema, told IANS that the certificate came at around 7 in the evening and now the advance booking will open from Thursday morning.

Until they got the censor certificate in hand, the producers had their fingers tightly crossed although they had been earlier confident of having the film released on Friday.

This was because fresh legal problems cropped up.

After the Bombay High Court on Monday gave the drug-themed movie a green signal for release with an 'A' certificate, a NGO went to court.

The Punjab-based Human Rights Awareness Association moved the Supreme Court to put on hold its screening saying it showed Punjab in poor light.

At the same, the Delhi High Court asked the film's makers to remove from its promos a scene ordered to be axed by the Bombay High Court.

Also, the film was leaked online on Wednesday. But the film's team managed to remove it online on war footing from Torrent sites.

The pre-release buzz of "Udta Punjab" is immense given the legal war that followed the Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) order for a whopping 89 cuts to make the movie fit for release.

The censors brought down that number to 13 later. Eventually, however, the Bombay High Court ruled it could be shown with just one scene cut.

Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan earlier told IANS: "If the film gets released, it will definitely do good business because of the publicity it has got."

Mahajan expected the movie to make over Rs 10 crore on its opening day.

Curiosity level about the Shahid Kapoor starrer is high among fans, said Girish Johar of Zee Studios.

"The film has definitely got good publicity. People are curious to see what the entire fight was all about, and because of this, 'Udta Punjab' is going to get a good start," he said.

According to the censor board, the movie, through its theme of the festering problem of drugs in Punjab, showcased the state in a negative way and was also laced with expletives.

The Bombay High Court's verdict that the film could release with one cut and after inserting three disclaimers was hailed by filmmakers and movie buffs as a victory for freedom of expression.

The film, co-produced by Phanton Films and Balaji Motion Pictures, also features Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh. It is directed by Abhishek Chaubey.

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