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Udta Punjab leaked online: Is Censor Board the culprit?

By Maitreyee Boruah

There seems to be no end to the controversy surrounding the upcoming Bollywood flick, Udta Punjab. To everyone's surprise the film was leaked online on Wednesday (June 15), just two days ahead of its official release in theatres across the country.

Media reports suggest that the film's team managed to remove it online on war footing from various sites. However, movie-buffs told OneIndia that the film was available online at the time of filling this report on Thursday morning.

Udta Punjab

There are many theories doing the rounds as who could be behind the leak of the film online. Some say it is the handiwork of the chief of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Pahlaj Nihalani and his team members. Few reports say the censor board members were miffed with the makers of Udta Punjab, as they protested against the cuts suggested by the CBFC. The film was finally cleared by the Bombay High Court with just one cut few days ago.

The theory of Nihalani and his team releasing the film online to harm its business prospect at the box office got more credence as the online copy of Udta Punjab has the watermark of "Censor Board" splashed across the screen. Experts say the online version of the film is the same copy makers of Udta Punjab submitted to the CBFC.

However, many say the Censor Board won't resort to such cheap revenge tactics as the controversy surrounding the film has already brought them very bad press. It might be the doing of some hacker as well, as often several Bollywood and Hollywood films were previously leaked online just few days before their releases.

The directorial venture of Abhishek Chaubey will be always remembered for its bitter battle against censorship laws in the country. The Bombay High Court on Monday (June 13) cleared the film with just one cut, as opposed to 89 cuts proposed by the CBFC.

Nihalani proposed 89 cuts and removal of any reference to Punjab from the film, including the title, before it could be released across the country. The makers of the film, including its co-producer Anurag Kashyap-- who himself is a film director-- vehemently opposed the decision of the censor board to muzzle the "creative voice" of the director.

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