Udta Punjab controversy: Why India loves to crush creativity in the name of reputation

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, June 8: Last year the BJP-led NDA government banned 'India's Daughter', the documentary about the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012.

Reason: the film portrays India in a bad light as the rape capital of the world. Similar logic has been cited when recently the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) proposed numerous cuts on an upcoming Bollywood film.

censor board

The Censor Board has asked the makers of the upcoming Bollywood film, Udta Punjab, for 89 cuts and dropping the reference to Punjab throughout the movie, before it gets its nod to be screened across the country. The film directed by Abhishek Chaubey, known for his realistic cinema, depicts the large-scale drug menace in the northern state.

The ruling Akali Dal in Punjab has vehemently opposed the film. The leaders of the party say the film is an attempt to malign the state and its people. The party has already announced that they won't allow the film to be screened in Punjab. As Punjab is slated for the upcoming assembly elections in 2017, the film--which has garnered a lot of interest because of its slick trailers--has fallen victim of politics.

Since the news about the proposed 89 cuts on Udta Punjab has become public, those who stand for freedom of speech and expression have slammed the Censor Board and its chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani.

One man who has been regularly voicing his protests against censorship on films is the noted Indie-filmmaker and producer of Udta Punjab, Anurag Kashyap.

In one of his first tweets since the Udta Punjab row began, Anurag compared India with North Korea, a country under dictatorship.

"I always wondered what it felt like to live in North Korea .. Ab to plane pakadney ki bhi zaroorat nahin..," tweeted Kashyap.

Attacking the CBFC chief Nihalani, Kashyap called him an oligarch and a dictator and that it was like living in North Korea.

Since the issue has already taken a political colour, opposition parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress have condemned the latest ruling of the CBFC.

censor board 2

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that Punjab has a crippling drug problem and censoring the Shahid Kapoor-starrer Udta Punjab would not fix the menace in the state.

"Punjab has a crippling drug problem. Censoring #UdtaPunjab will not fix it. The government must accept the reality and find solutions," tweeted Office of RG ✔ @OfficeOfRG.

With so much of hue and cry surrounding the film, we have to wait and watch whether the CBFC would change its decision or not.

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