Uncertainty plagues ‘Udta Punjab’ release (Roundup)

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New Delhi/Mumbai, June 15 (IANS) The release date of “Udta Punjab”, which was to hit the screens on Friday, remained uncertain on Wednesday amid unending legal woes. The producers are yet to get a censor certificate in hand.

After the Bombay High Court on Monday gave the drug-themed movie a green signal for release with an ‘A’ certificate, its makers had more trouble to face from some NGOs.

While Punjab-based Human Rights Awareness Association moved the Supreme Court to put on hold its screening saying it projected Punjab in poor light, the Delhi High Court asked the film’s makers to remove from the movie’s promos a scene ordered to be axed by the Bombay High Court.

Also, the film was leaked online on Wednesday. But the film’s team managed to remove it online on war footing from torrent sites.

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The pre-release buzz of “Udta Punjab” is immense given the legal war that followed the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) order for a whopping 89 cuts to make the movie fit for release.

The censors brought down that number to 13 later. Eventually, however, the Bombay High Court ruled it could release with just one scene cut.

Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan told IANS: “It’s still doubtful whether the film will release on Friday as the matter is in the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. But if it gets released, then it will definitely do good business because of the publicity it has got.”

Mahajan said expectations were that the movie will make over Rs 10 crore on its opening day.

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Curiosity level about the Shahid Kapoor starrer is high among fans, said Girish Johar of Zee Studios.

“The film has definitely got good publicity. People are curious to see what the entire fight was all about, and because of this, ‘Udta Punjab’ is going to get a good start,” he said.

According to the censor board, the movie, through its theme of the festering problem of drugs in Punjab, showcased the state in a negative way and was also laced with expletives.

The Bombay High Court’s verdict that the film could release with one cut and after inserting three disclaimers was hailed by filmmakers and movie buffs as a victory for democracy and freedom of expression.

The film, co-produced by Phanton Films and Balaji Motion Pictures, also features Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh. It is directed by Abhishek Chaubey.

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