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The Udta Punjab saga is another example of our film censors running riot. It is high time the government accepts the recommendation of the Shyam Benegal committee—that the censor board should stick to certifying films, not mangle artistic work by asking for cuts.
The film is reportedly set against the backdrop of the drug problem in Punjab. The powerful Hindi film industry needs to use its leverage with our star-struck politicians to rein in censors, especially at a time when filmmakers in other Indian languages are challenging their monopoly over popular tastes. The past few weeks have seen the commercial success of the Marathi film Sairat, the Kannada film Thithi and the Rajasthani film Hivade Me Fute Laadu. The resurgence of what is patronisingly described as regional cinema is hopefully a sign that enough people are ready to look beyond the Hindi mainstream—and a tactical reason why Udta Punjab should matter to Mumbai studios.