In mid-2016, Udta Punjab got into a major controversy after the Censor Board suggested around 89 cuts. The film talked about the drug menace that has reached epic proportions. With the election just 7-8 months away in the state, the film was seen as a threat to the ruling government in the state. As a result, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) under the chairmanship of Pahlaj Nihalani suggested insane amount of cuts. They asked for all references to Punjab, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Jashanpura, Ambesar, Ludhiana and Moga to be deleted. The makers however didn’t agree to these unjust cuts. They moved the Bombay High Court that gave a decision in favour of the makers.
Now, another film, the controversial and much-in-the-news period action film Padmavat, has faced a similar treatment from the CBFC, now under Prasoon Joshi. The film, earlier titled Padmavati, was to release on December 1, 2017 initially. But the film faced sharp protests from certain sections of Rajput community on the grounds that it distorts history. Five states – Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab – banned it. Moreover, the CBFC also sent the film back, citing incomplete application. As a result, the makers on November 19 had decided to push the film ahead indefinitely.
On December 28, the CBFC finally decided to agree to give the film a certificate. But they recommended several modifications. One of them was the name change from – Padmavati to Padmavat – which became the joke of the season. But besides the modification in the title, the CBFC has also been instructed to delete all references to Delhi, Chittorgarh and Mewar from the film. As per reports, it has resulted in as many as 300 cuts!
Prasoon Joshi had claimed that the film has five ‘modifications’ – firstly, the disclaimer should claim that the film is not historically accurate, secondly, the title should be changed to Padmavat, thirdly, there should be appropriate modifications in the song ‘Ghoomar’, fourthly, modifications should be done to the incorrect/misleading references to historical places and lastly, there should an disclaimer added that the film in no manner subscribes to the practice of Sati or seeks to glorify it. The fourth modification involves deleting the references of cities whenever it occurs. Since these places must have been mentioned innumerable number of times, the number of cuts totals 300 it seems.
The reports also suggest that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been making these changes at Rajkamal Studio at Parel at a furious speed so that the film is ready on time for release. The film is all set to hit theatres on January 25.