The Bombay high court on Friday reserved order till Monday on the petition filed by Phantom Films Pvt Ltd challenging the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) revising committee’s suggestion to
The Bombay high court on Friday reserved order till Monday on the petition filed by Phantom Films Pvt Ltd challenging the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) revising committee’s suggestion to cut 13 scenes from the movie Udta Punjab.
While hearing arguments from both petitioners challenging cuts and CBFC on justifying the recommended cuts, the division bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi came down heavily on both the parties.
During the hearing, when CBFC was time and again referred to as ‘Censor Board’, even by the lawyer of CBFC, the bench said that it was a body that was meant to ‘certify’ films and not ‘censor’ them. The bench was of the view that it could recommend cuts only as per guidelines.
The lawyer, however, said that it is only by censoring important matters that the board can function.
The bench also said that the creative writers were not capable of using subtle language to depict such issues. Justice Dharmadhikari berated the petitioner’s lawyer saying, “There’s a way of presenting things. You are only relying on bad language and expletives.”
At one point, the bench also told the CBFC lawyer that they were giving undue weightage and publicity to the film and thus helping them.
On the language used in the movie, the bench said, “Presently, the audience is very direct and candid. The people who are born before 1980 form a part of the viewing audience, however miniscule it is and the filmmakers overlook this fact. But today’s generation does not watch films just because there are cuss words. Films run on a proper storyline and content and if the films do not have this they will not run.”
“Do you say that you did not understand the words and yet suggested the cut ” asked the bench when the lawyer on behalf of CBFC told the court that the movie was in Hindi and hence a Hindi expert was present during the screening.
The bench also asked if the reference is deleted, how the context would stand. The judges asked this when the lawyer argued that the dialogue ‘zameen banjar toh aulad khanjar’ was insulting to Punjab.
The bench said that when the CBFC was asking for references to Punjab and some cities to be removed, how would the dialogue indicate that Punjab was being referred to.
The bench also asked the CBFC to not read everything in isolation and understand it within the context. According to the judges, theirs is an underlying meaning to these things that may be disturbed if some elements are removed.
When the CBFC lawyer said that the depictions were vulgar, the judge said that ceremonies like marriage have some vulgar practices nowadays and if a filmmaker wants to portray this evil how does he do it without showing the evil itself.
During the hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer said that they were ready to remove the scene where the main character Tommy is shown urinating on a stage in front of a crowd. After hearing arguments the bench reserved order on the petition till Monday.