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Will 'Udta Punjab' go the 'Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela' way?

Like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, producers Ekta Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap too may have to alter their film title days before its release, thanks to Censor Board's recommendation on deleting the word Punjab from the title

Mayur Lookhar

In what appears to be bizarre recommendation that could seriously affect the film, the revising committee of the Censor Board of Film Certification has reportedly recommended the makers of Udta Punjab to drop the word Punjab from their title. They also want the makers to remove any reference of the state or any of its cities in the film. The committee has advised the makers to set the film in a fictional land.

After CBFC levied 40 cuts on the film, co-producers Anurag Kashyap had requested the tribunal and I&B ministry to intervene. 

This recommendation comes amidst fears that the current title may tarnish the name of the state. Directed by Abhishek Chaubey, and co-produced by Balaji Motion Pictures and Phantom Film, Udta Punjab is based on the growing menace of drug addiction in the state.

The controversial subject has irked few polticial outfits in the state, who believe that this film will project them in poor light. Shiromani Akali Dal, the ruling government, has had their reservation over the film from the time its trailer was out.

Back in April, Shiromani Akali Dal leader, Virsa Singh Valtoha had told a local TV channel that the party would object the film if it defames the state. Udta Punjab stirred controversy when in its trailer, it showed that 70% of the youth in PunJab is taking drugs. This statement was deemed highly exaggerating by the Akali Dal.

The censor board had earlier put a huge question mark over the fate of the film refusing it censor certificate if the filmmakers didn’t have 40 cuts in their film.

Altering film titles is not a new phenomenon in the industry. Not too long ago Sanjay Leela Bhansali was forced to change his film title from Ram Leela to Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela just 48 hours before the release of his film after the court's order came on a suit filed by six petitioners, including Prabhu Samaj Dharmik Ram Leela Committee, saying the movie hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus as it contains sex, violence and vulgarity.

In 2009, Shah Rukh Khan had to trim the word Barber from his film Billu Barber after certain barber community felt the title was demeaning to them.

The new bizarre recommendation has only added to Udta Punjab’s woes with less than two weeks remaining for its release. The film is slated to release worldwide on 17 June. Thr film stars Shaid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh.