- Panel wants all references to Punjab, politics, elections to be removed
- If no settlement can be reached, title may have to be changed to 'Udta'
- 'Udta Punjab' is scheduled for release on June 17
With a reference to the dictator regime of North Korea, he added his voice to the actors and film-makers who have accused the Board of interfering with artistic freedom, tweeting:
I always wondered what it felt like to live in North Korea .. Ab to plane pakadney ki bhi zaroorat nahin..- Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) June 6, 2016
The committee's demands, if met, would not even leave the film's title intact - since no reference to Punjab is allowed. Sources said if the filmmakers don't reach a settlement with the committee soon, they may have to change the title to just "Udta."
The film, starring actors Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt and based on drug abuse in the state, had been referred to the Revising Committee after the Censor Board refused to clear it for release without cuts because it features "excessive swearing".
In a review reportedly presided over by Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, the committee recommended heavy cuts to temper the "reality" of the film. It also wanted the film to be set in a fictional land rather than in Punjab.
Fierce objections to the film's title and narrative have come from Punjab's ruling Akali Dal led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy Sukhbir Badal, who have been assailed by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party over the growing drug menace in the state, where assembly elections will be held early next year.
Both opposition parties have made clear this will be the number one issue in their election campaign.
When the drug problem featured in Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas' music video recently, it went viral.
The Akali Dal is a member of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre and the two parties also partner in governing Punjab.
The Akali Dal-BJP combine had a won second straight term in the state elections in 2012, defeating a trend of Punjab alternating between parties every five years, but this time is seen to be facing a huge anti-incumbency sentiment.
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