Dear Censor Board, WHY So Much Fuss Over Udta Punjab?!
Dear Censor Board,
Since you are very much at the top of everyone's minds because of the Udta Punjab controversy, I take this opportunity to express a few concerns about the things that are completely wrong with India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
First of all, what is wrong with you? Eighty-nine cuts in one single film? Really? I thought you were supposed to certify films, and not literally cut them. Udta Punjab, a film which released its trailer quite a while back, is now going through a massive controversy simply because you've started to take the concept of censorship a little too seriously - what about freedom of speech and expression?
A filmmaker decides to make a film about a prevalent issue in our country, the actors put in their best efforts to bring to life their characters, the producers and studios put in their money to make the movie look good…and now you decide to basically turn the film into something that it didn't set out to be? Along with the 89 cuts, you also want to ban the word Punjab from everywhere it's used in the film,including the title of the film as well? Wow! Imagine the amount of work the editor and director will have to put in to turn Udta Punjab the movie into a new film altogether…maybe it should be called Udta Half? Seriously, jokes apart, this is absolutely ridiculous.
Cinema is meant to be a reflection of society - even a reimagination of it. And if a filmmaker wants to show reality (or what their vision of what reality could be) then what’s wrong with that? The movie would anyway be certified as A - for adult viewing only - and you, CBFC, have decided to micro-monitor what adults in this country should or should not be allowed to watch.
The makers of the film are fighting against this censorship issue and openly appealing for Pahlaj Nihalani, head of the CBFC of India, to get off the board. But will getting Nihalani out from CBFC solve the problem? Who knows.
There are issues that the board needs to immediately deal with. A while back they came up with a list of words that were banned to from use on screen. Words like vagina, penis, boobs, etc., are on that list. They are parts of the human body, FFS!
Udta Punjab is certainly not the first film that has been targeted by the CBFC. In recent times, movies like Aligarh, which raised the issue of homosexuality, movies like Angry Indian Goddesses, which talked about women’s safety (and also female homosexuality) have seen a bit too much of the censor’s scissors. Even Do Lafzon Ki Kahani had to cut short an 18-second kissing scene to 9 seconds (as if that would make any difference?).
With all due respect (not), dear Censor Board, which world are you living in? This is an era of the world wide web, people have access to almost everything they want. Banning something WILL NOT bring forth whatever kind of “change” it is that you guys are looking for.
If you can pass movies like Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 and Mastizaade with minimal cuts, then there is no WAY that movies like Udta Punjab should get this kind of treatment. All you need to figure out is a way to intelligently censor the films that really, REALLY need it - because they denigrate sections of society or human beings - instead of making a spectacle of what your responsibility actually is.