Making sharp observations, the Bombay High Court today asked the Censor Board not be overly-critical, and allow creative people to grow in the film industry. The HC at the same time said that makers of "Udta Punjab" should tone down expletives and vulgar scenes as these alone cannot make a film work.
A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said it will pass orders in the case on June 13 after it concluded hearing arguments on the petition filed by Phantom Films, producer of "Udta Punjab", against an order of the revising committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that suggested changes in the film.
While the court pronounced its verdict, Shilpa Rathnam, a journalist live-tweeted the proceedings and the exchange was quite hilarious.
The court not only rapped the CBFC for being overly critical, but also called them out on trying to be overly protective of the audiences.
Judge: Audiences are direct and open today. People born after 1980 are very mature. So why are you worried?â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
According to Shilpaâ€™s tweets, the HC also said that audiences are mature enough and the CBFC could just give the film an â€˜Aâ€™ rating rather than making the cuts.
Judge: Give the film a certificate, what is the need for cuts?â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
It also appeared that while the judges posed difficult question to the Censor, the latter did not rise up to the mark with rather weak responses.
CBFC: We were told film is in Hindi, but both Hindi and Punjabi are spoken. Judge: Are you saying you ordered cuts without understanding?â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
In one such instance, the CBFCâ€™s lawyer went on to argue that cussing was justified only till Tommy (Shahid Kapoorâ€™s character in the film) is a drug addict.
CBFC vs Udta Punjab: CBFC says "Till Tommy is a drug addict we understand he can cuss, why is he cussing after he reforms as well?"â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
The court also challenged that if the CBFC really found the film to be glorifying drugs, they should be looking to ban the entire film. It added that the body was there to certify films and not censor and that the public can choose.
Judge: It comes down to only one question, does the film glorify drugs?â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
Judge: Then why have you not banned the film?
Further, the court was critical of the CBFC's direction to the makers to delete any reference made to Punjab in the film saying "the crux of the film will be lost" and added that people should be given the choice to view what they want.
"The censor board need not be so critical also as we want creative people to survive and grow in the film industry," the court observed while referring to certain scenes in the film for which the board has suggested changes.
Disapproving of the CBFC's direction to delete and cut references to "Punjab" in the film, the judges said "from every dialogue and scene of the film if reference to Punjab will have to be deleted then the crux of the film will be lost.
"If the idea of the maker is to be critical of a place or person then that place or person will have to be shown," the bench said.
"Most movies are failing in the multiplexes because the audience is bored with this over-dose. The content of the movie matters. A creative mind will know the folly of including so much cuss words in the movie. Let them (filmmakers) learn from their mistakes," Justice Dharmadhikari said.
Judge to CBFC: For action to be taken you need to provoke. Multiplex audiences are discerning. How can you decide which word's right/wrong?â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
"You (CBFC) have to give people the choice to view what they want. In the house, a person uses the remote to switch on or off the television. Similarly let the public decide whether they want to see the movie or not. Use of expletives will not take the movie anywhere. Today's generation is not going to be impressed with all this. The content needs to be strong," the court said.
Judge: CBFC should only certify, not censor. The public is the biggest censor. CBFC doesn't need to censor.â€” Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 10, 2016
"In this age only those movies having a strong content and script line do well and just using expletives will not work for the movie, and hence the CBFC need not be overly critical," it added.