The controversy over the upcoming drama Udta Punjab has acquired a new dimension, with a Punjabi filmmaker, Baljeet Singh, stating that the Abhishek Chaubey film promotes an "anti-Punjabi culture".
A Times Of India report on Monday said that Singh's film, Dhee Punjab Di, has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC, commonly referred to as the Censor Board) with a 'U' certificate. The film, as per reports and its official website, is said to be a Punjabi language drama that highlights the issues of female foeticide and drug abuse in the state.
Slated for release in mid-August, the CBFC has reportedly only asked for one cut in the film: that of a young boy snorting 'drugs'.
Singh told IANS: "They [the CBFC] said that 'Your film deserves a 'U' certificate as drugs is a pan-India issue today and it's not just restricted to Punjab'. These things are also happening in states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra." He added that he chopped that one scene himself after the board told him the scene would have a negative effect on young viewers.
He is also unhappy with the way his home state has been (reportedly) depicted in Udta Punjab, which stars Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Diljit Dosanjh. "The bad language that Shahid Kapoor has used in the film, I can't believe how the writer could have written them. Not only in Punjab, but this type of language is against our Indian culture," he said.
Even though the film has now been cleared by the CBFC with an 'A' certificate and 13 cuts, Singh feels that its release should be stopped, alleging that people aren't speaking up because the film is being backed by big banners and people feel that Ekta Kapoor (head of Balaji Motion Pictures, one of the producers) will "ruin their career if they speak against her".
He plans to protest against the film in Amritsar and Chandigarh by burning effigies of the movie's stars as well as by filing a defamation suit against Shahid Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, whose production house Phantom Films is the film's other co-producer. "If they will apologise to us, then only we will allow the film to release in Punjab, otherwise we'll protest against them," he said.
Dhee Punjab Di stars Jaspinder Cheema and Satwinder Bitti and is slated to release on August 19.
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