Udta Punjab: expletives, drugs and politics

A deadly cocktail of censors, drugs and politics is enacting a high drama head of the release ‘Udta Punjab’, apparently hiking the anticipation for the Bollywood film.

It is being reported that the Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh starrer has run into trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification.

It seems the movie is loaded with expletives, which the Board want cut. What’s more interesting is that the producers of Udta Punjab—Phanton Films and Balaji Motion Pictures—are seeking an ‘A’ rating for their film, according to the First Post.

Hindustan Times reported that the Board refused to give certification to the much-awaited film on the pretext that it has “excessive swearing, abusive language and drug consumption”. Details of the scenes that CBFC found objectionable have now emerged. A DNA report claimed on Saturday that the censor board ordered a massive 40 cuts and these include expletives, a song and visuals of substance abuse.

Meanwhile, the film has also raked up another controversy by dealing with the drug menace that has become a political issue in the Indian state of Punjab. It is being stated to be the subject matter of the film and have rattled the ruling political class. Shiromani Akali Dal, the ruling party, has raised voices against the film.

After Udta Punjab’s trailer was released in April, it has been criticised for “defaming”Punjab. An Indian Express report also quoted SAD MLA Karan Virsa Singh Valtoha as saying that the film was an “outcome of a trend to defame Punjab and its youth”.

Rival political parties, however, should welcome the film as they have been using the drug problem to attach the ruling government.

Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas released a music video ‘Ek Nasha’ that went viral on social media earlier this month. The song’s lyrics included accusations against the Badal government of (among other things) promoting the drug trade. Vishwas was announced with much fanfare as the face of AAP’s anti-drug campaign in Punjab at the end of April, the First Post reported. At the same time, Rahul Gandhi also said that tackling addiction in Punjab will be a priority for the Congress if it comes to power in the state.

Are the political outfits making the reality-based movie a political issue? Or was the movie itself politically motivated? Or it is yet another usual controversy raked up ahead of a movie just to boost its popularity? Well, these are million-dollar questions that may go unanswered.



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