Udta Punjab Controversy shows Bollywood has backbone

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The cool Udta Punjab Trailer LaunchThe question on everyone’s mind is whether Bollywood is allowed to reflect the truth – as in what’s “really” happening in the world?

Like an Indian parent at a family gathering, the Indian Censor board tells the aunties that their son is becoming a lawyer when in actual fact, he’s in art school, being creative.

Heaven forbid!

Who will marry him now?!

Being creative is just not Indian…not for the lawyer neither for the Indian film director. It’s not like a film director is actually allowed to move away from the Bollywood formula and think up an original storyline reflecting social issues to do something like try and make the world better…

If a real life issue like drug abuse is conveyed, such as Anurag Kashyap’s Udta Punjab is trying to do, it will only get banned. And drugs in Indian society must not really exist according to the Indian Censor board.

The Udta Punjab issue brings up issues of shame and hiding the truth. It’s clear that the Central Board of Film Certification, India, are controlling and all too concerned with what people might think of India – all association with Punjab and 89 cuts have been ordered by them.

Sources state that director Kashyap called the chief at the Indian CBFC, a “dictator” and an “ogligarch”. The question arises, what is the audience actually allowed to experience and process? Isn’t all this control unfair?

The good news is that Kashyap is gaining a lot of support from the industries top stars including Bachchan and Aamir Khan.

Amitabh Bachchan, for example, pointed out that the censorship is detrimental and is killing creativity: “I hope we can device a system where there is certification rather than censor. Don’t try and kill creativity. We all must have the freedom to create because we are in this field and all we have is our soul to create,”.

Kashyap’s film gained the support of Shyam Benegal, prominent film director and head of the government-appointed censor board revamp committee. Benegal described the film as “technically…a very well made film” according to sources.

It was Balaji who had the courage to fund Udta Punjab when no other production house would. The production and marketing costs have come to 40 crores. The financial damage will be substantial if the film is released later than than the planned released date which is 17th of June. Despite knowing the risk of loss, head of Balaji, Ekta Kapoor, is adamant to support the creativity of the film and take the risk of financial loss.

The Udta Punjab experience is important to see. We still have those who will not be bullied into submission.

Films are not mere entertainment. Films can change society for the better – only if the censor board allows the truth. The moment of truth will come on the 13th of June, when judgment will be made by the Hon’ble Mumbai High Court.

Udta Punjab stars Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

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