The war of words between censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani and `Udta Punjab' co-producer Anurag Kashyap escalated with Nihalani alleging Kashyap had taken money from AAP to show Punjab in a bad light and the producer denying the charges as a bunch of untruths.
“I've heard Anurag Kashyap has taken money from AAP to show Punjab in bad light,“ Nihalani claimed, adding his decisions were based on rules and guidelines. Kashyap responded saying, “I have made more films without fees than anyone else and I don't take money that is not earned from anyone... It is unfortunate we have to justify our honesty , our credibility.“ The film that seeks to depict the drug menace in Punjab has been subjected to 13 cuts which include deleting references to Punjab or any of its cities in the foreground, or on signboards and in dialogues.Besides recommendations to remove expletives, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has asked for references to election, MP, Parliament, MLA, and Punjab polls to be removed as well as “party“ from “party worker“. Kashyap said his current run-in with the board was different from earlier ones. “All those battles we knew who and what the enemy was, be it a person, a thought or just the understanding of the board. This one is different. This was blackmail, this has been a wall of lies,“ he said. Nihalani denied any political influence in the board's functioning, saying, “The Centre never interferes, there is no political influence.“ But he said, “Yes, I am a chamcha of Narendra Modi as Anurag Kashyap said. I am proud to be a Modi chamcha. Should I be a chamcha of the Italian PM instead?“ Describing his protests against cuts to the film as a “Haq ki ladaai“ or fight for rights, Kashyap said what he is confronting is a systematic way of telling filmmakers not to make a certain kind of cinema. The film-maker found the support of a host of personalities--among them Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar and Satish Kaushik--who said the issue was one of freedom of expression and creative expression. The CBFC has also raised objections on visuals of close-up shots of people injecting drugs. “From song. no. 1 delete the word Chittave and `hara**' everywhere,“ the CBFC note states. In Punjab, Chitta is a common trade name for hero in and smack. Asked about freedom of speech, Nihalani said, “It must also have its limitations. If they don't agree with the cuts they can appeal to the tribunal.“
Kashyap had on Tuesday compared Nihalani to an “oligarch“ and India to North Korea, prompting I&B minister of state Rajyavardhan Rathore to say CBFC's decisions were sometimes liked by moviemakers and sometimes not.“There is a system of appeal as per which after an examining committee, the filmmaker can approach the revising committee. The filmmaker may approach the revising panel again,“ he said. On his Facebook page, Kashyap said Nihalani gave them the order suggesting cuts after a legal notice.The filmmakers were unable to appeal to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) till then.