Today’s judgement over Udta Punjab is an interesting one. Censor Board proposes cuts and the courts rap the Censor Board stating your duty is not to demand cuts but to suggest cuts and give the movie a rating. In effect, the Court said that you can propose the cuts and it’s upto the director to accept them. If this is the reality, what’s the use of having something called a Censor Board? Anyways, none of the cuts it proposes will be accepted. Do we need a big panel with hefty salaries just to give a rating to a movie – U, A or whatever? How much money can we happily save for India if this board is scrapped off?
In theory, Censor Board should only be the overseer which ensures that things go correct. Now, if the one who is overseen errs, what is the recourse? The judgement Bombay High Court gave today effectively said that a person cannot err. People should decide whether the person erred or not, not an overseer. After all, if a moviemaker erred, people will not see the movie. In this logic, the High Court missed one fundamental thing – the difference between person and people. A person can think. People can’t think. They just follow the tide. Releasing the movie to public and asking them to decide whether it is good or bad, who will decide who has got the mental maturity to decide the person’s judgement is correct? 18 years is the age for an adult and he is mature enough to decide on his own; fine. But, we have got a loophole here – a mad person hasn’t got the capability to decide himself. Now, another question arises. Define madness.
As an extension of the judgement, can we argue that slander and defamation can’t be questioned as it targets the creative ability of an individual – after all, if a person feels it troublesome, he should plug his ears.
My grouse is not against the courts or the censor board. My complaint is against the responsibility of the filmmakers who throw all filth on us and ask us to enjoy it in the name of creative freedom. The censor board is correct in trying to cut out the garbage. The High Court is right because it reminded Censor Board what it is supposed to be. Let’s take this specific movie, a movie over drug abuse in Punjab banking mostly on excited public. Below are the cuts proposed.
Let’s leave out the controversy dealing with Punjab for a while. Any decent Indian, does he need any justification to ban the words like behenchod or haramzadi or such? That will cover every word in points 3, 4, 5. Point 8 is an outlet for those drug addicts who are hard on money. Buying a ticket for 20 rupees, they can go and enjoy the ecstasy of having drugs. Point 9, well, I better not comment. Now coming to Punjab. This movie will work as a great propaganda movie in a state which is going to elections in an year – months before election freeze, a propaganda movie is produced against the government, which can be used by any political party to target the government. I have got two major problems with this – Is drug menace the problem only in Punjab? Why isn’t the Pakistani angle not shown? Everyone knows the where the supply chain for drugs which ends in Punjab starts. One single line as a responsible filmmaker would have brought him much accolades. There is a problem, yes. You highlighted it – well and good. Why did you suppress, yes, I will use the word suppress, the fact that the drugs are sourced through Pakistan? Next is this AAP angle. One of the producers, Sameer Nair was in AAP at least till 2014. In a day where slander is the norm, if someone alleges that Arvind Kejriwal funded this movie and going by the sort of evidence provided, is it any outrageous? Some cuts like Jacky Chain may be comic, but looking at the holistic picture of proposing 13 cuts involving 94 individual cuts, I find fault only at the director and none else for provoking such a response. After all, if questioning moral corruption infringes someone’s right to expression, why shouldn’t extreme violence or porn or family incest?
Whatever I wrote may be false as it is based just on hearsay. But, the point I want to highlight is this. Anurag Kashyap’s victory may be legal but it will never be moral. He put the Censor Board in it’s place but he forgot his place as a responsible citizen of the country. And I am not sure if this is not a publicity stunt by daring the Censor Board to gather more viewership for his movie simply because he did it in the past with Ugly.