Film on drug problem in Indian Punjab cleared but with cuts

NEW DELHI (AP) — A Bollywood movie about drug abuse in India’s northern state of Punjab has been cleared for viewing after its director was ordered to cut several scenes.

Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani told reporters that the film “Udta Punjab,” or “Flying Punjab,” had been certified for adult audiences and can be screened in theaters after 13 scenes were removed.

The film certification board is legally empowered to protect audiences from content that includes profanity, excessive violence, sexuality and nudity.

Nihalani said nine board members watched the film and unanimously decided on the rating and the need to cut some violent scenes.

The film’s producer Anurag Kashyap said last week that Nihalani had demanded 89 cuts to the film and even asked him to drop the name of the state from the title, prompting him to file an appeal to a Mumbai court.

The court is expected to rule later Monday on the appeal challenging the cuts and changes as a condition for the film’s release.

Nihalani has said the movie wrongly depicts 70 percent of people of the state consuming drugs and defaming them.

He denied that the board had asked the producers to change the name of the film and accused them of trying to create a controversy to boost interest in the film.

“The claim of the producer that the board asked him to change the title of the film is false,” Nihalani said.

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