Let CBFC not exercise autocracy on hapless producers: Hansal Mehta

Mumbai, June 13 (IANS) Filmmaker Hansal Mehta was on Monday delighted with the Bombay High Court clearing “Udta Punjab” for release with one cut, but said since every filmmaker can’t afford excellent legal assistance, the censor board must stop being autocratic in its working.

Following the Bombay High Court verdict that “Udta Punjab” — a film on the drug menace in Punjab — could release with one cut and three disclaimers, Mehta, who had been backing the movie’s makers’ fight against the censor board, tweeted: “Am delighted, relieved and elated that ‘Udta Punjab’ has been finally cleared for release by the Honourable Court.

“This became our battle to get redressal for the unjustifiable interpretation of guidelines by the inept CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification).”

The film fraternity became united to fight against the diktat of the CBFC, which had first instructed “Udta Punjab” makers to make 89 cuts to get an ‘A’ certificate. Later, its Revising Committee brought down the cuts to 13.

The makers moved the Bombay High Court to counter the censor board’s argument.

Mehta, who had himself fought the censors for his film “Aligarh”, said there’s a moral to the story.

“Censorship must end. Certify, don’t censor our work. We are creative artistes and we are usually responsible. Have faith in us.

“Must we always have to approach the courts for redressal of our grievances when there is a body appointed by the government to perform the very same task? If the CBFC is unable to interpret the guidelines without restricting artistic freedom, then why does the CBFC exist at all?”

He said: “Not every producer can afford excellent legal assistance like the producers of ‘Udta Punjab’, nor do they have the requisite strength to garner industry/media support.”

Mehta appealed: “Let the ‘Udta Punjab’ case not be a one-off incidence of collective outrage resulting in a positive outcome. We must rally behind the weak when they need it. Let the CBFC not exercise its autocracy on hapless and helpless producers who have no means or clout to fight.”



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