Last night after the meeting with the IFTDA Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association meeting to decide on the steps to be taken in the Udta Punjab versus the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) case, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap took to the social platform of FaceBook to express his thoughts via an open letter to anyone who cares to read. Here is a copy of the same:
“So after taking a hard stand with censorship the trolls are out there creating diversion from the issue with blatant lies and accusations. Since I cannot put up this post on Twitter am writing it here. I have had run ins with censor many times. First was Paanch which everyone still believes was banned by censors. The truth is the film was cleared by revising committee after a few cuts and two disclaimers, and the same version, the cleared one is available on the net. Black Friday was cleared uncut by censors but were blocked by the court as the case was under trial. Finally Justice Sabharwal cleared the film for exhibition in two years from when it was blocked even before the verdict was out. A lot of film stayed intact except some references to Shiv Sena that were cut out under pressure. Gulaal was never caught up in any censor issue; the film had few references muted in one dialogue. It was stuck in production.
Most of the lists the trolls are floating on the net of a million cuts on every film are lists of cuts made for TV of the adult films. Ugly was never stuck with censor board, it was cleared. We decided to push the film to fight the health ministry on anti-smoking logo. It was our decision to fight the then government and we lost the case, in Court. Film came out intact. Water was not allowed to shoot at all and that was not during the UPA government and that’s when first time I met Mr. Jaitley and was an admirer of his since. But in all the battles, I never felt that I was being silenced or blackmailed into doing something against my will. All those battles were a fair fight of belief systems, all those fights were not being lost, not knowing what’s going on. All those battles we knew who and what the enemy was, be it a person, a thought or just the understanding of the board. This one is different. This was blackmail; this has been a wall of lies.
We got the official letter in a day after going to press and imdtly after the first hearing of the court. We have a signed acknowledgement from Mr. Nihalani’s office dated yesterday 7th June, which requests him to give us the official copy. So him saying he gave the letter on Monday is a lie and proof of all his lies. Him pressurising us to delay release, and accepting cuts is and was a thought through strategy. His accusing me of taking money from AAP is not just a lie, is a diversion from the real issue to make the fight for a filmmaker’s right into a political battle. And in this he is being helped by all the trolls to make sure that the real issue somewhere is lost in the political blame game.
So I request to not get involved in any rumour mongering and let us stick to the real honest issue of freedom of expression and free thought and our rights as film makers versus the censorship. No I am not a member of AAP or Congress nor do I associate with any other political party. I have made more films without a fee than anyone else and I don’t take money that is not earned from anyone. Thank you”.