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Censors need not to be overly critical: HC on ‘Udta Punjab’


In sharp observations, the Bombay High Court has asked the Censor Board not be overly-critical so that creative people can grow in the film industry and, at the same time, said makers of “Udta Punjab” should tone down expletives and vulgar scenes as these alone cannot make a film work.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said it will pass orders in the case on June 13 after it concluded hearing arguments on the petition filed by Phantom Films, producer of “Udta Punjab”, against an order of the revising committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that suggested changes in the film.

The court was critical of the CBFC’s direction to the makers to delete any reference made to Punjab in the film saying “the crux of the film will be lost” and added that people should be given the choice to view what they want.

In stinging observations against the Board, the court noted, “If the movie (Udta Punjab) is glorifying use of drugs then ban the entire movie.

“The censor board need not be so critical also as we want creative people to survive and grow in the film industry,” the court observed while referring to certain scenes in the film for which the board has suggested changes.”

Disapproving of the CBFC’s direction to delete and cut references to “Punjab” in the film, the judges said “from every dialogue and scene of the film if reference to Punjab will have to be deleted then the crux of the film will be lost.

“If the idea of the maker is to be critical of a place or person then that place or person will have to be shown,” the bench said.

Noting that the use of expletives and cuss words does not decide the success of the movie, it said, “Today’s generation is very direct open and more mature. No film runs because of the use of cuss words.”

“Most movies are failing in the multiplexes because the audience is bored with this over-dose. The content of the movie matters. A creative mind will know the folly of including so much cuss words in the movie. Let them (filmmakers) learn from their mistakes,” Justice Dharmadhikari

“You (CBFC) have to give people the choice to view what they want. In the house, a person uses the remote to switch on or off the television.
Similarly let the public decide whether they want to see the movie or not. Use of expletives will not take the movie anywhere. Today’s generation is not going to be impressed with all this. The content needs to be strong,” the court said. “In this age only those movies having a strong content and script line do well and just using expletives will not work for the movie, and hence the CBFC need not be overly critical.”

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