Udta Punjab has been well received by the audiences and critics alike. The state of the Censor Board worries me sometimes as an audience because I am not down with a bunch of strangers making decisions for me. Are we really that unsure of our belief systems that we can’t be left to our own devices when it comes to what we want to consume? I spoke to filmmaker Vikas Bahl, one of the producers of Udta Punjab, about censorship, the film’s victory, the government’s role in the issue and of course, the man of the hour – Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani.
Was there a time when you were close to giving up in your Udta Punjab fight?
There was a point for sure when we felt totally defeated, where we didn’t have any clue what could the next step be. I think we got pushed against the wall too much and when that happens, something comes out of that – and I think this was exactly that. There was some sort of belief system in everyone that kept us going. We were like let’s fight it out now, not think about the repercussions and see where we land up by the end of it.
In the conversations that surround the issue, often one man is blamed for the whole thing – Pahlaj Nihalani. Would you have something to say about him?
I think it’s an undefined role, it’s an undefined position of power. It’s not collaborative and anyone who sits there, in some form or the other will default. And I think while the big issue needs to be corrected – which is absolute misuse of power, at the same time, whoever comes there I think will be in the same position one year from now if you don’t do an overall correction.
Do you think at a point like this the government should intervene? A sector also believes that the strict censor guidelines are the government’s doing…
The Censor Board is an independent body. I think it should be representing the industry rather than representing the government. And industry needs to exercise self-control. When you give the power back to the people, they act with more conscience and responsibility. So currently, it doesn’t seem like it’s sitting with us. It seems like it’s sitting on the other side. And there’s no reason for it to be sitting on the other side.
Do you have something to say about this? Please tell me in the comments below! Let’s get a conversation going :)