“Udta Punjab” broil

“Udta Punjab” is yet another movie being “slaughtered” at the hands of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), says veteran danseuse Leela Samson, who had resigned from her post as censor board chief last year over government interference.

Breaking a vow of silence over matters of the CBFC, Samson on Wednesday took to her Facebook page to share her views on the raging row of “Udta Punjab”, a movie which delves into the drug menace of Punjab and which has been suggested 89 cuts by the censor board.

“‘Udta Punjab’ – a film made by some of the country’s boldest and finest industrywalas! Yet another film and its slaughter at the hands of the CBFC – that is made into a national news item and flogged to death with opinions intended to fan more debate and endless hours of controversy.

“Have we not had enough? Enough opportunity to talk to each other, to debate the issues of certification and its down-face – censorship,” Samson wrote.

In her opinion, matters of the film industry should be taken care of by “just the industry and what should be an empathetic CBFC board”.

“There are three parties involved. That’s already one too many,” she added.

Samson drew attention to how everything related to the CBFC operations boils down to a direct connection with the government.

“Who appoints the Board? The members of the Viewing and Reviewing committees? The Ministry. Who dictates which officials will be placed in Mumbai? The Ministry. Who makes policy? The Ministry. Who runs the film festivals? The Ministry. Who sets up an Enquiry committee as was just done? The Ministry.”

In a message to Kashyap, who has outrightly called present censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani an “oligarch”, she said: “The industry ought to know by now that this act of certification should be transferred to an internal body within the industry. Self regulation is the only regulation that should exist.”

Also, Samson said that “those who do not like it, should not see it”.

“Turn the switch off for heaven’s sake! Art is not compulsory.”

Calling the boards and the committees a “sham”, Samson urged filmmakers to get together, and fight for it.

“It’s the good fight,” she said.