Kashyap is also hopeful that his upcoming film will get a positive response from the Punjab High Court

Udta Punjab row Anurag Kashyap wants Censor Board chief sacked overhaul of CBFCFile Photo
news Udta Punjab Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 18:59
Written by  PTI

Welcoming the High Court's verdict in favour of their film, "Udta Punjab" co-producer Anurag Kashyap on Tuesday sought censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani's removal and overhaul in CBFC.

"We have a humongous problem with Mr Nihalani but if he goes who will come in? What's the guarantee that if someone comes in, he will not interpret the Cinematograph Act and the law the same way, or may be worse or better. The system needs overhaul. It is not just Nihalani, who needs to be replaced, which we want," he told reporters in Mumbai.

Kashyap was at the forefront of the fight against the board, which had asked for multiple cuts in the drug-themed drama, directed by Abhishek Chaubey.

The producers had moved the Bombay High Court against the Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) decision. The court cleared the film for release with just one cut.

Kashyap said they were careful in not letting the film get dragged into politics while they were fighting censorship.

"Something that we have consistently seen that in such cases, the issue always gets lost, gets too political and people get too defensive. It kind of loses scope. This fight was about the film, about what we believed in. I think it stayed singular and the industry joined in," Kashyap said.

The filmmaker said he has realised that they can win such fights if the industry comes together.

"I have never seen so many people come together. Seeing that response somewhere, they have also realised that industry always needed to come together. It became one this time. That has put pressure on them." 

Kashyap said people get offended easily nowadays and the industry becomes a soft target.

"We are a soft target and we should stand against this and say 'Stop making us a soft target'." 

When asked why they were not as vocal as Kashyap on the issue, film's lead star Shahid Kapoor said they were relatively new to the problem and wanted a more experienced voice to defend the film.

"I think me and Alia are still new to the censorship issue... So we chose to do it in a way that was as balanced as possible. I think the representation was not from the point of view of what will get more headlines but who will speak better and represent the film better. I have to thank Anurag for doing that," said Shahid.

He praised Kashyap for fighting for the movie at a time when he was busy with his own directorial venture's release.

"It is a very busy time for a filmmaker. It is very selfless on his (Kashyap's) part," he said.

Kashyap is also hopeful that his upcoming film will get a positive response from the Punjab High Court, for which a screening was scheduled at 4 pm.

"We will release the film. We don't foresee a problem as we know the film we have made, everyone else is assuming things.

If the ruling of Punjab High Court not in our favour then we will battle it out. It is Ekta Kapoor and Madhu Mantena's call," he said.

The "Gangs of Wasseypur" director also slammed political parties for getting involved in his battle against the censor board.

"Yes, when the whole thing came out we at Phantom Films and Balaji Motion Pictures did not speak on the matter. We wanted to solve the issue and release the film. When it went out of hand, and we did not get the letter (from censor board) is when I got a call (from political party/parties). (I) vehemently and clearly told them to stay away from it and even tweeted about it," Anurag said.

According to him, the film is not about politics but is true to what is happening there (Punjab).

"Even if the film would have released, I don't think it would have had the kind of impact that it has got now (due to controversy) but it has been made. The film is about four characters and it has no affiliation to anyone," he added.

The film, produced by Phantom Films and Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Motion Pictures, has Shahid Kapoor as a rockstar, Alia Bhatt as a migrant, Kareena Kapoor Khan as a doctor and Diljit Dosanjh as a cop. It is scheduled to release on June 17.