Soon after the Bombay high court ordered the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to clear Abhishek Chaubey’s film Udta Punjab with just one cut, the Punjab and Haryana high court issued a show cause notice to the Centre, the CBFC and Phantom Movies Private Limited, the film’s co-producers with Balaji Motion Pictures.
The court issued the notice after a Jalandhar advocate, Wattan Sharma, filed a petition, claiming the film reflects “negative branding” of Punjab and Punjabis and will have “adverse repercussions all over Punjab” if released. Sharma also cited reports that allege that political parties have been involved in the film’s production.
The court ordered, additionally, that a special panel watch the film on Tuesday, June 14, and submit its report on whether it is fit for public viewing two days later, on Thursday, June 16. The single-judge bench of Justice M. Jeyapaul appointed Bombay high court lawyer Sujay N. Kantawala as amicus curaie, to take the decision and submit the report. The case has been adjourned for hearing until Thursday.
Udta Punjab deals with Punjab’s drug problem and stars Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor. Over May and June, the CBFC directed the filmmakers to make 89 cuts to the film and remove all mention of Punjab and politics from the film, including its title, which triggered the controversy that is clearly far from over.