Courtesy : <img src="images/uploads/A5D_ud.jpg" alt="" />
The raging row over "Udta Punjab" took a dramatic turn on Wednesday when censor board chief suggested that Anurag Kashyap may have made the movie after taking money from the AAP, sparking a stinging reaction from Bollywood.
Leading Bollywood filmmakers along with the "Udta Punjab" team -- co-producers Kashyap and Ekta Kapoor, actors Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt and director Abhishek Chaubey -- addressed the media where the Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) sought an apology from Nihalani.
Mukesh Bhatt said: "We have been making films for 40 years but this has not happened before. I appeal to the (Information and Broadcasting) Ministry that Pahlaj should be removed as he doesn't deserve (the post)."
Indian Film and Television Directors Association President Ashok Pandit said: "We condemn the statement (by Nihalani). We demand an apology... This is not just an insult to Kashyap but to the film industry." Pandit is also a member of the censor board which Nihalani heads.
Anurag Kashyap hits back by saying,"I really don't know how to react to this. Of course, I have not taken any money and I feel ashamed that I have to defend myself... I wish someone gives me money as I have many ideas."
Even Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has joined the debate. At a press conference of film "TE3N", Aactor was asked to comment on the controversy over "Udta Punjab".
He said: "I am not quite aware of what the issue is. I have been reading about it. All I can say is that don't try and kill creativity. If you kill creativity, you kill the soul and that is all that we (artistes) have."
"I know that there are rules and regulations... That's something that the government has to decide. But as an artiste and a creative person, all I can say is that don't kill creativity."
Defending "Udta Punjab", Aamir Khan told media at an event on Wednesday: "It's a social film which talks about the drug addiction issue of Punjab's youth. It has a good social message. I don't think there's anything that should be cut or not shown to the audience."
He added:"I think the makers of the film are going to the FCAT (Film Certification Appellate Tribunal) in two, three days. My best wishes to the team that it gets justice at the Tribunal."
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra told IANS: "You can fight that out. Don't agree to the cuts (made by CBFC). There is a Revising Committee. Then there is High Court and Supreme Court. Fight it out.
"I'm part of the censor committee since last five months. Day and night we have been working, and our recommendation is to abolish the scissor. There should be no scissors. End of story. We should have a rating system."
Kalki Koechlin told IANS "I really think that the certification board should decide what rating to give to a movie without any cuts. If it's a movie like 'Udta Punjab', then give an A certificate and that's it," she was in Delhi to launch new PizzaExpress restaurant.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who heads the govt-appointed revamp panel of the CBFC, watched the film and told media: "If you ask me technically, it's a very well-made film."
The Aam Aadmi Party promptly joined the fracas.
Delhi CM Kejriwal said "Nihalani's statement makes it amply clear he has stopped the film on BJP's instructions." Kejriwal added: "What else could one expect in Modi regime." He added that the truth about Punjab should become public.
It all followed Nihalani's remarks to TimesNow news channel: "I have heard he (Kashyap) has taken money from AAP... He is a sponsor of AAP."
Asked if he meant that Kashyap had taken money to show Punjab in poor light, Nihalani said: "Yeah, that is what I have heard. That talk is going on in the film industry."
The AAP, which rules Delhi, is a major contender for power in Punjab where assembly elections are due next year.
The CBFC demanded 89 cuts in "Udta Punjab" which the producers say will virtually kill the movie.
"Udta Punjab" makers said they were trying to release the film as slated on June 17.