Indian film industry's run-ins with the Censor Board

Udta Punjab set to soar with one cut, ‘A’ certificate

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to issue an ‘A’ certificate to the movie Udta Punjab (Punjab on a High) with the deletion of one scene and a modified disclaimer.

A division bench of Justice S. C. Dharmadhikari and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said, “We do not find anything in the script that affects the sovereignty and integrity of the Nation.” The court also said, “None can dictate to the film maker on how he should make a film and use words; there is no need to censor films.”

The bench was hearing a plea filed by film maker Anurag Kashyap’s production house Phantom Films, which moved court on June 8 against 13 deletions made by the review committee of the CBFC. While dictating the strongly-worded order, the court said, “The power to exercise deletion and cuts should be consistent and in consonance with provisions of the Constitution and directions of the Supreme Court, so that creative freedom is not curtailed.”

‘CBFC out of line’

In the order the court said, “It is undisputed that the CBFC possesses powers to call for cuts, changes, deletions in a movie while certifying it. However, in the present case, the CBFC-imposed restrictions were not correct. The movie has to be seen as a whole and it is not permissible to take the characters, scenes and songs in isolation and out of context,” the bench noted.

Striking down the CBFC review committee suggestion that the ‘sign board of Punjab’ at the beginning of the movie be deleted, the court said there was no justification for the same. It said, “Such blanket deletion without reference to the theme and subject of the film is bound to interfere with the creative freedom of the petitioner.”

After dictating the order for three hours, the bench said, “There are so many litigants awaiting justice. This is hardly a cause to be brought before the court, let alone the highest court of the State.” It added, “We hope this is the last occasion where such an issue is brought before us.”

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 12:02:44 am |