After a much-publicised ordeal around its theatrical release last year, Abhishek Chaubey’s drugs-drama breezes through censor test for TV
Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 19, 2017)

While chances of a TV premiere for Abhishek Chaubey’s controversial drugs-drama, Udta Punjab, looked bleak to many after its long drawn tussle with the Censor Board for Film Certification (CBFC) over its adult content, the film had also failed to find takers for TV rights.

Now, Mirror has learnt that the film is inching closer to its TV premiere after the CBFC’s television technical committee cleared it with just a three-minute reasoning it could be “graphically disturbing for the TV audience”. No other audio cuts have been made.

Writer-director Abhishek, who was present for the editing himself and has accepted the suggested cuts, reveals that he is happy with the way things have panned out.

“Television is a medium that is available to a majority of people in India. The nature of the cut asked for TV was completely acceptable to me. In theatres, there is a provision where only adults can walk in for a show and at that time we should have the ability to express and even push our boundaries in the best interest of a film. But TV is a medium that is accessible to people from all age groups and walks of life. As a filmmaker, I am responsible enough to understand that the content of my film cannot be shown to a child,” Abhishek says, adding that the CBFC wanted him to be a part of editing process.

“I made a few suggestions which were completely from an aesthetic point of view because we had to follow the guidelines. And my suggestions were accepted,” he says.

The film is set for a world television premiere on Sunday, April 30 at 12 pm.

On June 4 2016, 13 days before the theatrical release of Udta Punjab, the CBFC had sought a stay on the film contending that its theme was too vulgar for the general audience and ordered a total of 89 cuts. However, on June 13, the Bombay High Court struck down the stay and gave permission for the film’s national release, albeit with a single cut — of Shahid Kapoor’s character Tommy Singh peeing on a gathered crowd of fans during a stage performance.