Just a couple of weeks before its release, Udta Punjab is deeply embroiled into a political controversy of sorts owing to its subject of substance abuse in Punjab. Ranging from censor certification issue to political parties raising objection, the film has been suffering several obstacles, including the constant pressure for the removal of the word Punjab from the title. Now the makers, however, have decided to take a drastic step by moving the High Court.
After the Censor Board refused to certify the film owing to high amount of expletives and extreme visuals, Udta Punjab was taken to the Revising Committee who too agreed to the Censor Board’s decision of chopping off swearing and extreme visuals and suggested about 89 cuts including the removal of the word Punjab from dialogues and title. In fact, it further asked the makers to use the name of a fictional state instead. However, the makers have refused to bog down towards the claims of removal of Punjab from the title and from what we hear have decided to approach the High Court for the same. On the other hand, one of the film’s producers have apparently stated that all these are rumours and that they haven’t received any such letter from Revising Committee or I&B Ministry about the removal of Punjab from the title.
On the other hand, the Akali Dal, the current state government of Punjab, continues to fight against the film and raise objections over the portrayal of the Indian state. Their opposition parties Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have been constantly blaming the ruling party for the increasing substance abuse in the state, with that becoming an important topic of discussion in the upcoming election campaign.
While the censors keep up their word of providing an A certificate with no cuts or over 89 cuts for other certification, the makers are yet to arrive at a decision. However, we also hear that they have decided to succumb to pressure and chop off a few mentions of Punjab in the dialogue. What remains to be seen is if the word ‘Punjab’ is indeed deleted from the film’s title or no.