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BJP Distances Itself From Nihalani’s ‘Udta Punjab’ Controversy

BJP leaders Babul Supriyo and Ravi Shankaar Prasad have spoken against Nihalani’s take on ‘Udta Punjab.’

Updated
India
1 min read
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications and IT. (Photo: PTI)

The BJP-led Centre has distanced itself from the controversy sparked by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s take on Udta Punjab.

Amid the raging controversy over the film, the Centre seems to be snubbing the Censor chief. While speaking to The Indian Express, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government “celebrates and supports creative freedom”. To Nihalani’s earlier claims that he was proud to be a Modi chamcha, the minister said that the Pradhan Mantri didn’t need any sycophants.

Prasad’s comment has come after singer-politician from West Bengal Babul Supriyo voiced concern over Nihalani’s comments.

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Besides removing all the references to Punjab, the Censor Board wants the filmmakers to make over 80 other changes before it gets a clearance for release.

These changes include suggestions like removal of the names of cities such as Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ludhiana, and Moga – and an audio and video disclaimer at the beginning of the movie acknowledging that the state government and police are working towards tackling the drug problem.

Other words on the Censor Board’s hit-list are ‘chittave’, ‘harami’, ‘election’, ‘MP’, ‘party’, ‘MLA’, and ‘parliament’.

Appointed as the Head of the Committee to revamp the Censor Board, Udta Punjab was screened exclusively for filmmaker Shyam Benegal on Wednesday. He called the film as a “technically well-made” one but refused to comment on the controversy.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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