Udta Punjab, a Bollywood movie embroiled in a toxic censorship row, may have managed to do what years of protests, voluble television debates, or celebrity fracases could not: bestow adult status on the Indian movie-goer.
Stuck in a court battle with the Indian film certification body, the arguments over the movie on Friday (June 10) prompted a judge of the Bombay high court to comment: “Whether it is TV or cinema, let the people see it. Everybody has a choice.”
The statement by justice S C Dharmadhikari of the Bombay high court was directed at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), whose decision to cut certain scenes and lines from the movie has left the makers of Udta Punjab in limbo. Referring to the CBFC’s objections to parts of the movie’s content, the judge went on to say that films “don’t run on such content, there has to be a story in it, why are you concerned?”.
During the course of the arguments, the judge made several stinging remarks that, while upholding the importance of free speech, sought to put the CBFC in its place.
The hearing in the case has been adjourned to Monday when the court will also pronounce judgment. However, going by the observations made in the court on Friday, the plaintiffs can stay hopeful.