Anurag Kashyap in an exclusive interview to CNN News18 has lashed out Censor Bpoard Chief Pahlaj Nihalani and called him a bully. ‘Udta Punjab’ a film produced by Kashyap’s production house has not been given a certification by the board or the revision committee and instead has been to remove the word ‘Punjab’ everywhere from the film except the title.
Expressing his frustration, Kashyap stated, that how the Revision Committee has just asked them to make changes verbally and nothing on paper. “To appeal to the Tribunal Committee, we need a letter from the Revision Committee listing out the changes but we haven’t got one yet so we can’t appeal to the Tribunal Committee either,” explained Kashyap.
Steering clear of any controversy, Kashyap said that film was not a victim of any election politics in Punjab and that his fight was only with censor board chief. If the Akali Dal has a problem with the film, Kashyap requested them to give to him in writing so that he can fight it out constitutionally.
‘Udta Punjab’ talks about rampant drug abuse that is prevalent in Punjab, something that the censor board does not want the public to view as it fears it will show the state in a bad light. “If I am making a film on what is happening in Punjab, it is not derogatory in any way to the state. Any kind of government responsible for a state should welcome a film like ‘Udta Punjab’. I am sure that someone higher up will see the film and see why it is necessary to put it out there,” explained the producer.
“Drug problem has always been in Punjab. No one has addressed this issue before. We as filmmakers have a social conscious as we make films. By not addressing the issue, it will not disappear. Our film is not about any political party it’s about the issue. It deals with the real people,” added Kashyap.
Kashyap is not stranger to absurd diktats of the censor board. His first feature film ‘Black Friday’ also ran into trouble with the censor board as it dealt with a sensitive issue of Bombay riots of 1992. But the director states, that it things have over the years become more difficult. “It was easier for me two years back before Mr Nihalani came into the board, to make films freely in this country,” said the filmmaker candidly.
Kashyap accused Nihalani of operating outside the constitution. I don’t think he operates within the constitution. “He only puts people in the committee who he can control and those people are scared of him. It’s like his morality is governing the censor board.”
89 cuts have been asked by the committee and the makers simply state that if they abide by it the film will lose all of its essence. “Mr Nihalani plays god to the committee. I don’t want him to play god to my film. We have requested him to give us the letter. We cannot move to the High Court till the time we get the letter.”
The film is scheduled to release in theatres on June 17th. Kashyap is adamant to fight it out and get the film a timely release. “Appeal the government to intervene and ask Nihalani to do what is part of his duty,” said the director.