In these troubled times for him, Pahlaj Nihalani can look to our neighbours for comfort. After the Bombay High Court cleared Udta Punjab with just one cut - a crucial scene which shows Shahid Kapur urinating on the audience in a concert - Nihalani has probably been left licking his wounds. While we celebrated the supposed victory of 'freedom of expression', in Pakistan echoes of Nihalani's concerns about the film were heard in the country's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The film, which was supposed to be released simultaneously in India and Pakistan, have not been screened in Pakistan yet. The reason, according to reports in Pakistani newspapers, is their Censor Board. Sounds familiar?
Fakhr-Alam, Chairman Censor Board Sindh, told Dawn, that after watching the film, they have asked the distributors to make changes to the film.
"We have told the distributor to delete the bad language, swear words -- which are extremely explicit and in direct conflict with the law and censor code. We will [then] review to see that the compliance has been adhered to and then issue a certificate," Alam told the newspaper.
He left it on the distributor to decide if the film will be released - because it seems like it won't be allowed without the suggested cuts.
Another report in the Express Tribune quotes a CBFC official saying that at least 200 words have to beeped out in the film, for it to meet the standards approved by the Pakistani equivalent of the censor board.
Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) Chairperson Mobasher Hasan expressed great shock at the contents of the film and said that at times, one sentence has two or more swear words.
"The problem is that even if the movie is granted an Adult rating, it would still have the necessary cuts and beeps. And there are close to 200 scenes that need to be muted because of the vile language," Hasan told the paper.
Tribune reports: "Initial review panels at both the central and Punjab censors have denied the film a release and have forwarded the case to their full boards."
A source told Tribune that it's not only the swear words that's bothering the board, the fact that it touches on the issues of drug abuse is also a matter of concern for them. Now, where have you heard that before?