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What’s in a Name? Punjab’s ‘Udta’ Problems Aren’t Going Anywhere

A rant on the Censor Board’s crackdown on Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Udta Punjab’.

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So, Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Udta Punjab’ is about Punjab’s drug problem. But our censor board has demanded 89 cuts in the film. They have asked for mentions and connections to Punjab, politics or elections to be removed. Further, Mr Pahlaj Nihalani, has said that the ‘reality’ in the film should be ‘tempered down’.

But Mr Nihalani, making the cuts in the film isn’t going to rid Punjab off its clearly apparent drug problem! Beeping out the foul language will not alter the reality.

Here are some of the startling facts put forth by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, AIIMS:

  • The number of addicts in Punjab is four times the global average
  • Punjab spends Rs 20 crore on the purchase of drugs daily
  • Of the 5 lakh opium addicts in India, 2.3 lakh are in Punjab alone


Drugs is the number one issue in the run up to the Punjab elections, next year. The AAP and the Congress have run a high-octane campaign against the Badals on the issue. The Akalis have been very vocal in their opposition to the film. But none of this is reason enough for us to bow down to political pressure.

Whether its Udta ‘Punjab’ or Udta ‘Whatever’, you cannot hide or shelve the truth about Punjab’s perennial drug problem. So let’s not dumb down our cinema and lets not think of our audiences as fools. If anything, release ‘Udta Punjab’ in Punjab, in all its brutal reality... And make it TAX FREE!

Cameraperson: Sanjoy Deb
Editor: Kunal Mehra

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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