Chandigarh, Jun 7: With the Censor Board reportedly raising objections to Shahid Kapoor-starrer Hindi film 'Udta Punjab' regarding references made in it to Punjab, opposition AAP and Congress today accused ruling SAD-BJP combine of exercising its influence to "censor" the film, a charge denied by the state government.
Leader of Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi of Congress said "people of Punjab will rather benefit from the movie which deals with the drug problem, a burning issue in the state.
The youth will draw inspiration from it and stay away from drugs". "Akalis are not concerned about the image of Punjab.
Rather, they are scared because that with the release of the movie, the image of the state government will be hit," he added. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann said "the Censor Board has acted against 'Udta Pinjab' at the behest of SAD-BJP-led state government.
It is an attack on Freedom of speech and expression in highlighting the extent of drug problem in the state". "By indulging in such acts, the state government cannot hide the reality of Punjab by pushing the state into a drug menace during its nine-year rule," Mann alleged.
"Movies are the mirror to the society and they project what is actually happening around us," he told PTI.
Referring to opposition attacks, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said in Ropar that "how could the state government be held responsible for it when CBFC is exclusively under the control of government of India."
Punjab BJP chief and Union Minister Vijay Sampla welcomed the Censor Board's move and said any attempt to "defame" Punjab should be dealt with sternly.
"Nobody should be allowed to defame Punjab...why did the producers name the movie Udta Punjab? Why not Udta Bollywood...the drug problem is a global issue. Why is one state being singled out," he said. Sampla asked opposition parties to rise above their "political interests" and not allow anybody to "defame" Punjab in any manner.
"Be it the ruling party or opposition, every effort should be made to protect the image of the state at any cost," Sampla said. Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Sohan Singh Thandal said "any film which is not in the interest of the state and which tries to defame Punjab should always be opposed."
Slated for release on June 17, 'Udta Punjab' also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh. It is co-produced by Anurag Kashyap's Phantom Films and Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Films. The film deals with the drug menace in Punjab.
The matter assumes significance as Assembly elections are due in Punjab in 2017 and opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party are blaming the ruling Akalis for the growing drug menace.