India's Central Board of Film Certification (the censor board) and its head Pahlaj Nihalani kicked up a storm when they imposed close to 89 cuts in an upcoming Bollywood film titled Udta Punjab. The film deals with drug abuse in the northern Indian state of Punjab.
In a hearing, the Bombay High Court on 13 June asked filmmakers to remove only one scene and add a change to the disclaimer. The court asked the censor board to make necessary changes and issue a fresh certificate in two days. The scene that requires removal shows the male protagonist urinating on the audience while at a concert. References to Pakistan also need to be removed, the court ruled
The High Court added that the certification board did not have the right to censor films according to the Cinemotograph Act, and was only allowed to certify them.
According to Hindustan Times, the court's statement read: "Art must render obscenity so trivial that it doesn't affect people's minds. Holding up certificate, suggesting cuts routinely will prove counterproductive. Punjab is a land of warriors and martyrs and people must not be overly sensitive to a single dialogue that has the word kanjar (sword) in it.
"Adults won't be tempted to use cuss words simply because they heard it in the movie. The story of Udta Punjab is depicted through fictional characters that have no connection with real life."
The board previously asked for the removal of the word 'Punjab' from the title of the film, but has since clarified that it's not an issue. The court also stated that the film did not question the sovereignty or integrity of the country.
"We have read the script in its entirety to see if the film encourages drugs. We do not find that the film questions [the] sovereignty or integrity of India by the names of cities, reference to a state or by a signpost," the court ruled.
Udta Punjab is produced by Anurag Kashyap's Phantom Films and Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms and stars Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh.